China’s relations with the United States remain stable, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, after rapidly growing tension over territorial disputes which have alarmed the United States and China's smaller neighbors.
"I look forward to continuing to develop this relationship with President Obama and to bring China-U.S. relations to a new height along a track of a new model of major country relationship," Xi told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the end of Kerry's two-day trip to China.
Kerry’s trip has mainly focused on deepening concerns about Beijing’s maritime ambitions in the South China Sea.
China’s rapid reclamation effort around seven reefs within the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea has alarmed other claimants like the Philippines and Vietnam.
US Secretary of State John Kerry in a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart on Saturday voiced concern about the pace and scope of China's land reclamation drive in the South China Sea
Beijing, however, shows no sign of backing down.
His call was rebuffed by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who said Beijing's determination to protect its interests in the area is "as hard as a rock".
Part of Kerry’s trip to China is intended to prepare for the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in next month in Washington.
Xi has repeatedly told Obama of his desire for a "new model of major country relationship," in which China would be viewed as an equal global player.
But the model also outlines a respect for "each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as political system and development path".
China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square kilometers (1.35 million square miles) sea. The Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam also claim large parts of it.
Recent satellite images have shown that since about March 2014, China has conducted reclamation work at seven sites in the Spratlys and is constructing a military-sized air strip on Fiery Cross Reef and possibly a second on another reef.
The Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally, has called for urgent action.