Zhen Liu

The South China Sea disputes will be a "central issue" when US President Barack Obama meets Asian leaders next week, a US official said, as the Pentagon revealed two American B-52 bombers recently flew near Chinese-made islands in the waters.

The European Union's support for a US warship's patrol near Chinese man-made islands in a disputed area of the South China Sea is a blow to Beijing, but is unlikely to significantly harm growing Sino-EU ties, according to analysts.

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