The Chinese have told the United States to keep out of discussions with its neighbors over a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai said that the U.S. has no territorial claims in the region and, thus, should have no voice in any discussions regarding how regional powers interact with each other.

China’s construction of islands in the region, which was followed up with the deployment of air defense missile systems, has drawn criticism from Washington, which has defense alliances with several Asian nations.

President Donald Trump makes his first trip to China later this week.

Analyst comment: China may not care much for Washington’s ‘interference’ in any South China Sea discussions, but the U.S. certainly does have a national security interest in ensuring that the vital trade waterway remains free and open and certainly not dominated by a potentially hostile rising power.

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