Beijing hit back Wednesday at US President Donald Trump's veiled criticism of its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, countering that the United States was a greater threat to sovereignty.
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump decried "threats to sovereignty" in Ukraine and the resource-rich South China Sea, without explicitly mentioning Russia or China.
"We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow," Trump said.
China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital waters in the face of rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly turned reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.
The United States has conducted three "freedom of navigation" operations near islands held by China to challenge Beijing's maritime claims since Trump took office in January.
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