WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. lawmakers accused China of bullying its neighbors to press territorial claims in the South China Sea, but also raised questions about America's capacity to police the region.
Three congressional panels this week that are scrutinizing the security threat posed by China and its rights record.
The Republican chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, dubbed China a "schoolyard bully towards its maritime neighbors." She said the U.S. would stand by its allies, the Philippines and Japan.
Ranking Democrat Howard Berman told Wednesday's hearing that China should not be allowed to assert hegemony, and the U.S. must continue to press China to resolve its claims peacefully.
Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, however, questioned the ability of an indebted U.S. to sustain its military presence across the world.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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