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Kerry warns China over air defence zone plans

Published 05/06/2016

John Kerry meets Mongolian foreign minister Lundeg Purevsuren during his visit to Ulaanbaatar (Pool photo/AP)
John Kerry meets Mongolian foreign minister Lundeg Purevsuren during his visit to Ulaanbaatar (Pool photo/AP)

US secretary of state John Kerry has warned that China would be committing a provocative and destabilising act if it establishes an air defence zone in the South China Sea.

Mr Kerry, speaking during a visit to Mongolia, said doing so would raise tensions between China and other Asian countries and call into question China's commitment to resolving disputes over islands and maritime claims diplomatically.

He said the US did not take sides on competing claims and no country should move unilaterally to militarise the resource-rich region.

Meanwhile he hailed Mongolia as an "oasis of democracy", n oting its difficult geographical location between undemocratic China and increasingly authoritarian Russia, and welcomed its parliamentary elections next month.

Mongolia, which has been democratic for 25 years, wants to safeguard its sovereignty and has reached out to Washington as part of its "third neighbour" policy.

The US is reciprocating interest at a time it also is cultivating closer ties with south-east Asian nations threatened by China's rise.

Mr Kerry's brief stop in the homeland of Genghis Khan, famous for its traditional ger dwellings, comes before he travels to Beijing for annual US-China strategic and economic talks.

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