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nda gone considering sending ships and planes to counter china's moves as tensions rise in the disputed south china sea nnnnn beijing has been building artificial islands in the sea as well as patrolling the waters around them and reuters correspondent manny machado saw them first hand , three months ago , probably dialed is that it has expanded six to seven times bigger than though digital area at least five other countries have claims and sources tell reuters defense secretary ash carter could recommend the u. s. respond the wall street journal first reported tuesday that carter has asked for options including sending boats within twelve nautical miles r. u. s. official telling reuters sending u. s. assets would demonstrate freedom of navigation in an area critical to world trade chinese foreign ministry spokesperson watching ying responding wednesday one day may suddenly away and then because we are extremely concerned other relevant remarks from the united states , china will resolutely uphold its territorial sovereignty we demand the relevance i talk and act cautiously and not take any actions that are risky or provocative to maintain regional peace and stability working with the recent satellite images show china has worked on seven different sites in the spratly island chain building an airstrip on a coral reef and possibly preparing another which would allow china to increase its air patrols , officials also say secretary of state john kerry who will visit china this weekend will make clear to beijing that the u. s. is committed to keep the south china sea open to everyone and that china's island projects could threaten stability , back in washington the senate foreign relations committee holds a hearing wednesday on safeguarding american interests as china asserts its power nnnnn