Beijing accuses Tokyo of meddling in South China Sea issue

Beijing accuses Tokyo of meddling in South China Sea issue

Beijing accuses Tokyo of meddling in South China Sea issue

The USS John McCain sailed past the Mischief Reef and the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea despite repeated warnings from a nearby Chinese frigate.

But China scoffed at the USA, calling the move a "provocation" that could seriously damage the two countries' strategic trust and also create difficulties and obstacles for their defence forces, Reuters reported.

Donald Trump has also impacted on US-China relations with his insistence that Beijing rein in North Korea.

China's defense ministry said two Chinese warships "jumped into action" and warned the USA ship to leave, labeling the move a "provocation" that seriously harms mutual trust. The U.S. and North Korea have been exchanging threats over North Korea's missile program.

It continued that the United States sailing had violated both global and Chinese law and, at the same time, had posed a threat to Beijing's security and sovereignty.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement.

China's foreign ministry said: "The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and worldwide laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security".

And with China putting pressure on Singapore to downplay the South China Sea issue, Storey said the city state would have its work cut out trying to keep everyone happy.

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana acknowledged knowing of China's continuing improvement of structures on manmade islands in the South China Sea but said the government "will leave it at that".

Australia, the United States and Japan have urged Southeast Asia and China to ensure that a code of conduct on the West Philippine Sea they have committed to draw up will be legally binding, and said they strongly opposed "coercive unilateral actions".

But Nicole Schwegman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that USA forces operated in the Asia Pacific region on a daily basis.

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, on June 19, 2017. China wanted no discussion or even any reference to its claims or activities in the South China Sea or to the 2016 arbitration ruling against the same.

Japan worries that China's probing of its air defenses is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km south towards Taiwan.

It also came days after China and Asean countries adopted the framework in Manila for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

"We hope that the Japanese side could do more to help enhance mutual trust with China and other neighbouring countries and to safeguard regional peace and stability", Geng said.

China and the Asean countries are focusing on strengthening cooperation to promote comprehensive and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and jointly develop regional rules. It also gives states an exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles from their coastline meaning that most of the Spratly Islands are in the territorial waters of the Philippines and Malaysia.

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