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Iowa Governor and new U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad attends an event where U.S. President Donald Trump (R) signed an executive order on education at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to China took a tough line on Tuesday on China's development of "artificial islands" in the South China Sea.

"China cannot be allowed to use its artificial islands to coerce its neighbours or limit freedom of navigation or overflight," Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said at his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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