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China warns U.S. not to take sides in sea disputes

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China warns U.S. not to take sides in sea disputes

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) gestures next to Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during their meeting in Jakarta September 3, 2012. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) gestures next to Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during their meeting in Jakarta September 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Enny Nuraheni

By Andrew Quinn and Chris Buckley

JAKARTA/BEIJING | Tue Sep 4, 2012 8:24am EDT

(Reuters) – China warned the United States not to get involved in South China Sea territorial disputes on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to Beijing pledging to pass on a strong message on the need to calm regional tension.

The last time Clinton visited the Chinese capital, plans to highlight improving U.S.-China ties were derailed by a blind Chinese dissident whose dramatic flight to the U.S. embassy exposed the deeply uneasy relationship.

The irritants this time are disputes over tiny islets and craggy outcrops in oil- and gas-rich areas of the South and East China Seas that have…

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