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The Chinese vice foreign minister warned the United States on Wednesday to stay out of the increasingly tense territorial disputes and maritime conflicts in the South China Sea, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas reserves.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last year that the United States had a “national interest” in the South China Sea and could facilitate talks, worrying China that it was going to step into the territorial rivalry.
He added, “I believe the individual countries are actually playing with fire, and I hope the fire will not be drawn to the United States.”