"We really covered the full spectrum of our relationship, from those areas where our cooperation and collaboration is doing very well," Richardson said, according to an audio clip. "But on the other hand we didn't dodge any of the more contentious issues regarding dispositions in the South China Sea, the Court of Arbitration Ruling and those issues, recognizing that only through being completely frank and honest are we going to make any progress in those areas."
"We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway," Xinhua quotes Wu saying. "The Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful."
China has rejected the court's ruling and has said it will not abide by it, raising the specter of continued tensions in the region.
U.S. and Chinese Navy leaders met in Beijing to discuss the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, but a tribunal ruled it has no legal basis to do so. The U.S. has vowed to operate wherever international law allows. Carrier Ronald Reagan and destroyer McCampbell were in the South China Sea on July 13.
Photo Credit: MC3 Elesia K. Patten/ Navy
Chinese coast guard vessels have been chasing Philippine fishermen away ever since and that has not changed in the wake of the ruling, according to local media reports.
Reuters obtained a transcript of the event.
China, Sun said, was the biggest beneficiary of freedom of navigation and wouldn't do anything to damage it.
"But China consistently opposes so-called military freedom of navigation, which brings with it a military threat and which challenges and disrespects the international law of the sea," he said, according to a Reuters transcript of the event. "This kind of military freedom of navigation is damaging to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and it could even play out in a disastrous way."
However, maritime experts say these freedom of navigation patrols exercise the rights to which nation's are entitled and that failing to do so will reinforce Chinese claims. Top U.S. leaders, including the defense secretary, have vowed that the military will fly, sail and operate everywhere allowed under international law.
China also announced Monday that it was planning to begin regular maritime patrol flights in the South China Sea with its bombers. The announcement in Xinhua specifically named Scarborough Shoal as being one of the features the bombers would patrol.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.