Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said on Wednesday that Washington risks getting drawn into a conflict over the competing claims should tensions in the region rise further.

China is urging the United States to stay out of territorial disputes in the South China Sea but says if it does get involved then it should ensure that other countries do not provoke conflicts.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said on Wednesday that Washington risks getting drawn into a conflict over the competing claims should tensions in the region rise further.

Tensions over rival claims to islands and reefs in the South China Sea have recently flared, with Vietnam and the Philippines reporting Chinese incursions and provocations and Beijing responding by accusing the others of provocative acts.

Washington views the sea lanes as strategically important, and Vietnam has encouraged the United States to get involved.

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