Speaking at a news conference after bilateral talks with the US officials, Yang Jiechi, China’s highest-ranking diplomat and director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Central Commission of the Communist Party, said that Washington should refrain from actions that undermine stability in the South China Sea. READ MORE: Beijing Warns US Against ‘Showing Off Force’ in S China Sea While the United States’ representatives expressed their concern over what they referred to as growing militarization in the South China Sea and insisted that Beijing withdraw its missiles from the disputed Spratly Islands (“Nansha” in Chinese), Yang pointed out that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the archipelago and its adjacent waters. © REUTERS / Stringer Pompeo, Mattis Call on China to Remove Its Missiles From Spratly Islands The annual US-China diplomatic and security dialogue was originally scheduled to be held in Beijing last month, but was called off amid rising tensions over trade. The joint press release suggests that both sides agreed to remain committed to “non-confrontation,” and support peaceful resolution of any disputes in the contested region. Beijing is currently in control of the vast majority of islands, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. READ MORE: China Should Keep an Eye on US-Japanese Military Plans in E China Sea – Scholar In 2016, a Hague-based arbitration tribunal ruled that there was no legal basis for China to claim rights over regions falling within the so-called “nine-dash line” – a vaguely located demarcation line used by Beijing to lay its claims to the biggest part of the contested waters. China refused to recognize the verdict and demanded that the dispute be resolved through multilateral negotiations, involving other claimants.