US President Barack Obama has called for an end to the construction of artificial islands in the disputed regions of the South China Sea.
Obama said on Saturday that countries should stop building artificial islands and militarizing their claims in the disputed South China Sea.
"For the sake of regional stability, the claimants should halt reclamation, construction and militarization of disputed areas," Obama told a meeting between US authorities and leaders of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
China stresses its sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, a claim that overlaps with four ASEAN countries. China has been transforming reefs in the Spratly archipelago into artificial islands and has built airfields and other facilities on them.
Some $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes through the strategic waterway annually.
Obama said he commended ASEAN for working to create a code of conduct for the South China Sea "including the peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight."
Earlier this month, US B-52 bombers flew near China's artificial islands, prompting criticisms from Beijing which views such moves as provocations.
More US Navy Moves Around China
Meanwhile, new reports suggest the US Navy will likely carry out another patrol within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands in the South China Sea before the end of the year.
The USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, last month sailed close to one of China's man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago.
A US defense official said this month the Navy planned two or more patrols a quarter in the region as part of its plan to regularly exercise its rights under international law and remind China and others about its view.
In a report published on the Chinese defense ministry's website on Thursday, China's top admiral, Wu Shengli, said his forces have shown "enormous restraint" in the face of US provocations in the South China Sea, while warning they stand ready to respond to repeated breaches of Chinese sovereignty.