McCain calls Chinese moves on disputed islands 'unnecessarily provocative'

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The heightened tensions come as the Obama administration has called for a foreign policy “pivot” toward Asia, sparked in part by China's more aggressive stance.

“China’s actions in this case are disappointing and not befitting a responsible great power,” McCain said. “We must continue to urge all parties with territorial claims in the South China Sea to seek a peaceful, multilateral resolution that is based on international law and upholds the principle of freedom of navigation in international waters.”