U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Beijing for annual talks between senior Chinese and U.S. officials expected to focus on China's territorial disputes with its neighbors.
The United States officially takes no sides in the rival claims in the South China Sea. But a senior U.S. official traveling with Kerry said Tuesday China's so-called nine-dash line that outlines Beijing's South China Sea claims is too ambiguous and causing tensions.
Many Asian countries accuse China of using its growing military power to aggressively advance its disputed sea claims and exploit the region's natural resources.
Two days of talks
The two days of talks, which are known as the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, will also focus on how to deal with the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons and the sensitive issue of cyber security. The U.S. called off talks on the issue earlier this year when Washington charged five Chinese military officers with cyber espionage — charges China angrily disputes.
Beijing hit back at the United States with accusations of its own, saying the recent revelations by ex-U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden proved the U.S. also engages in improper spying.
One issue on which the United States and China are cooperating is the fight against global warming.
U.S. and Chinese officials signed eight separate agreements Tuesday on sharing information and technology on climate change. They cover clean coal technology and power plants that can capture carbon dioxide before it is poured into the atmosphere.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who is leading the U.S. side of the talks along with Secretary Kerry, is also expected to raise long-standing concerns over the Chinese yuan, which U.S. officials say China is undervaluing in order to give its exporters an advantage.
Some information for this report comes from Reuters.