China on Thursday responded to a Reuters report that the U.S. and India are discussing joint naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea, warning that interference from countries outside the region threatens peace and stability. "Countries from outside the area must stop pushing forward the militarization of the South China Sea, cease endangering the sovereignty and national security of littoral countries in the name of 'freedom of navigation' and harming the peace and stability of the region." The United States wants its regional allies and other Asian nations to adopt a more united stance against China over the South China Sea, where tension has spiked since China's construction of seven islands in the Spratly archipelago. China lays claim to most of the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
Two suspected people smugglers went on trial in Turkey on Thursday charged with causing the death in September of a Syrian toddler, images of whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach shocked the world. The trial of Syrian nationals Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad opened at the criminal court in the western Turkish resort of Bodrum, the Dogan news agency reported. The victims were among one million people who last year sought to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey in a bid to reach EU member Greece.