The United States does not want China to use its navy to intimidate fishing vessels from other countries in a disputed area of the South China
Sea, the State Department said on Wednesday.
"We are aware of these press reports regarding the Chinese vessels operating near Jackson Atoll in the contested areas of the South China Sea
," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a news briefing. "We don't want them using ... their navy to intimidate other fishing vessels in that region."
Philippine officials said on Wednesday China had sent as many as seven ships to Quirino Atoll, also known as Jackson Atoll, in recent weeks, preventing Filipino fishermen from accessing traditional fishing grounds.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Writing by Washington Newsroom; Editing by Eric Beech)