Tensions showed no signs of easing after senior US and Chinese military officials met to discuss ructions in the South China Sea, the Wall Street Journal reported. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with his counterpart, General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The two sparred publicly at a joint press conference over recent incidents in the contested South China Sea. The US recently finished conducting naval exercises with the Philippines and will soon begin similar exercises with Vietnam. Chen said that the US should be “more modest and prudent in words and deeds,” and called the naval exercises “inappropriate.” Admiral Mullen reiterated the US position that the country has a strategic interest in maintaining freedom of navigation in the area, and said that the naval exercises had been planned long before recent conflicts.