US lawmakers urge tough stance on China sea claims

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Associated Press

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 4:06 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers say the United States must not tolerate China's use of military coercion in pursuit of its territorial claims in the seas of East Asia.

Congressional panels overseeing U.S. policy toward Asia and its use of sea-power held a joint hearing Tuesday to consider Washington's response to recent actions by China.

Beijing has declared an air defense zone over disputed islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea, and announced new rules to regulate fishing in a huge tranche of the South China Sea. That has deepened concerns that China's rise as a regional power could spark a confrontation.

Republicans and Democrats were both strongly critical of China.

Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of California called for a strong, bipartisan message to China that its behavior is "unacceptable."

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