Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Beijing ‘angered’ as 2 United States warships enter S. China Sea - spokeswoman

An official said the two US guided-missile destroyers traveled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands World War 3 news: China response expected after US warship movements | Daily Star
Deanna Wagner | 12 February, 2019, 07:54

The USS Preble was one of two warships conducting the operation; they were shadowed by Chinese assets, but the interactions were routine and uneventful, according to a US official.

As U.S. -China trade negotiations resumes with deputy level meetings, the two countries are trying to hammer out a deal before the March 1 deadline.

'China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters, ' Hua said.

China illegally asserts control over the disputed Spratlys and surrounding waters.

'Spruance and Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by worldwide law, ' said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy's Seventh Fleet cited by CNN.

Navy spokesman Commander Clay Doss told USA media: "All operations are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows". Clay Doss, a spokesman for USA 7th Fleet.

Beijing sharply criticised the operation.

The two warships entered China's territorial seas around the Nansha Islands without permission from the Chinese government, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

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China's claim was largely discredited by an worldwide arbitration tribunal three years ago, but Beijing has rejected the ruling. Beijing rejected the ruling and the authority of the tribunal.

The Chinese military has since bolstered its presence in the region, deploying military hardware and other defense systems. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

Doss added: "We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future".

The US has also sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, drawing Beijing's ire.

The rising military tension comes against the backdrop of an increasingly bitter trade war between China and the US.

Analysts have said it would be hard for the world's two largest economies to resolve their trade disputes by the designated date, given the challenge of U.S. demands for structural reform in China to address issues of intellectual property protection, forced technology transfers and state subsidies favouring domestic companies.

The US Navy, however, has stressed that it's not going anywhere.

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