China's premier has warned against outside interference in the South China Sea in an apparent challenge to the United States.
Wen Jiabao told a meeting of Southeast Asian nations on Friday that "external forces should not use any excuse to interfere" in territorial disputes in the sea.
The South China Sea has some of the world's busiest shipping lanes and is believed to hold huge oil and gas reserves. China claims all of it, while several Southeast Asian nations claim parts.
Wen did not mention the U.S. by name in his remarks, carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.
The U.S. has angered China by saying it has a stake in security and unhampered international commerce in the South China Sea.