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US presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea

WASHINGTON: Standing side by side, top US officials urged their Chinese counterparts on Friday to halt militarization of the disputed South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese for sending US warships close to islands claimed by Beijing. During a round of high-level talks in Washington, the two sides aired in sometimes blunt terms many of their main differences, including a bitter trade dispute, freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific waters, self-ruled Taiwan, and China‚Äôs crackdown on its Muslim minority in…