China garrison raises tension in disputed sea

The United States is criticizing China's new military garrison in the contested South China Sea as risking an escalation in tensions.

The State Department issued a statement Friday voicing concern over the situation in the resource-rich sea and strong support for diplomatic efforts by Southeast Asian nations to negotiate with China.

The Philippines and Vietnam have described as unacceptable and a violation of international law China's establishment last month of Sansha city on a remote island, intended to administer hundreds of thousands of square miles of water where it wants to strengthen its control over disputed, and potentially oil-rich, islands.

The U.S. said that move, and the new garrison, "run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region."