Beijing Outraged as US Destroyer Approaches Disputed South China Sea Island

Beijing Outraged as US Destroyer Approaches Disputed South China Sea Island

Beijing Outraged as US Destroyer Approaches Disputed South China Sea Island

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the actions of the USS John S McCain had violated Chinese and global law, "seriously" impairing the country's sovereignty and security.

It's the third time since President Trump took office the Pentagon ordered a Navy destroyer to challenge China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Thursday's operation, first reported by Reuters, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China's cooperation to rein in North Korea.

Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the situation in the South China Sea has "stabilised" due to the "joint efforts" of China and neighbouring countries but the United States operation threatened "peace and stability in the region". "The Chinese military is firmly opposed to such flaunting of force and promotion of militarization in the region by the USA, which could easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air".

China's foreign ministry said the operation had "violated global and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security".

Responding to the so-called incursion, China's foreign ministry said it "severely harmed China's sovereignty and security".

Such operations, Nauert said, get the "most attention" when they occur in the South China Sea. 12 nautical miles from shore marks the territorial boundary for all nations.

Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show the U.S. does not recognise territorial claims there.

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"And the point of that is to demonstrate that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.

China, which claims the South China Sea virtually in entirety including Mischief Reef, has protested such repeated United States military operations.

Tensions escalated a few years ago when China began to build seven reefs, including Mischief, into islands, including three with runways, which the US and China's neighbors fear could be used to project Beijing's military might and potentially obstruct freedom of navigation.

"China holds indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and surrounding waters", the defense ministry stated. About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law.

US President Donald Trump in a tweet had lashed out against China last month over its inability to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions, saying,"I am very disappointed in China".

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