Jul 26, 8:22 AM EDT

A senior U.S. administration official says U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Chinese officials that countries should work to reduce tensions over the South China Sea


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A senior U.S. administration official says U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Chinese officials that countries should work to reduce tensions over the South China Sea

After months of confrontations in the South China Sea and days of high-stakes diplomacy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the time has arrived to "move away from the public tensions and turn the page."

The United States, Japan and Australia have urged China not to construct military outposts and reclaim land in the disputed South China Sea, in a strong show of support for Southeast Asian nations that have territorial disputes with Beijing in the area

A Chinese military court has sentenced former top general Guo Boxiong to life in prison for taking bribes

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BEIJING (AP) -- U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Chinese officials that countries should work to reduce tensions in the South China Sea, but that the U.S. would continue to carry out the military operations there that have angered Beijing, a senior U.S. government official said Tuesday.

Rice told China's top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and top general Fan Changlong in meetings in Beijing on Monday that the U.S. hoped a recent international tribunal's ruling on the South China Sea would spur negotiations in the region toward eventually resolving long-standing territorial disputes, the official said.

Rice is the highest-level White House official to visit China since the July 12 ruling that invalidated Beijing's vast claims in the South China Sea, handing a victory to the Philippines, a U.S. ally.

In meetings with Yang and Fan, Rice said all countries should "avoid taking actions that raise tensions and could raise the risks of miscalculation" in the South China Sea, said the official, who wasn't authorized to comment publicly. She did not discuss the topic with President Xi Jinping when they met, the official said.

Rice also said the U.S. would continue conducting military operations in the South China Sea. "Those operations are lawful. They will continue, they've been long standing, they've been designed to impart confidence and stability," the official said, describing the stance that Rice made in her meetings.

The U.S. has said such operations are intended to protect freedom of navigation. China has described such operations as "heavy-handed intervention" in the South China Sea.

China's official Xinhua News Agency said Fan, the general, told Rice that China opposed the tribunal's ruling and "would continue to provide strong backing to safeguarding China's national territorial sovereignty and security."

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