China, US agree to manage maritime risks through continued dialogue

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China and the United States held consultations on maritime affairs in which both countries agreed to maintain dialogue and manage risks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

China said both sides exchanged views last Friday on the maritime situation, agreed to maintain communication, and avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations.

The foreign ministry said China expressed serious concern over the United States' infringement of and provocations in nearby waters, and urged the Washington to refrain from intervening in disputes between China and its neighbours, or "use the sea to control China".

The United States should immediately stop supporting and condoning "Taiwan independence" forces, the ministry added.

The United States maintains direct interactions with Taiwan, including arms sales, which Beijing opposes. China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, but Taiwan's government rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims.

China has also urged the United States to not take sides in South China Sea, after Washington in March extended a security deal with the Philippines to include attacks on the Southeast Asian nation's coast guard.

(This story has been refiled to restore a dropped letter in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Farah Master and Liz Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)