Xi says China will defend its South China Sea sovereignty

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that China is resolute in defending its sovereignty in the South China Sea, and believes the disputes should be settled peacefully by relevant claimants through direct talks, Xinhua said. Xi said Beijing "respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight other countries are entitled to under international law", the official news agency added. He made the comments to U.S. President Barack Obama at a meeting on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in Washington. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)