Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

U.S. destroyer in South China Sea called 'provocation' by Beijing

U.S. destroyer in South China Sea called 'provocation' by Beijing

Beijing voiced displeasure today after a USA warship sailed near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea, an operation that prompted the Chinese navy to warn off the American destroyer.

According to unnamed United States officials, the USS John S McCain sailed close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, the string of islets where China is building new facilities, paving the way for Beijing to deploy an array of military assets in the region.

It was the third "freedom of navigation operation" or "fonop" during Trump's presidency.

McCain sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of three Chinese man-made islands with a runway and military fortifications.

The Chinese navy "identified the USA warship, warned and expelled it, " the spokesman said.

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McCain on Thursday entered the waters near Mishchief Reef in the Spratly Islands to carry out freedom of navigation operations in the area, reports Efe news.

U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr.

"All operations are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows", she said.

Geng said China "has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratly) and their adjacent waters", and called for a dialogue between Beijing and the governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries to solve the maritime dispute.

Such operations, Nauert said, get the "most attention" when they occur in the South China Sea.

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

"We told them we are a United States [ship] conducting routine operations in worldwide waters". It is also believed to be rich in natural resources, including oil. President Trump has been urging China to use its influence with North Korea to help address the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program.

An inside view of the Chinese military over 120 years. "We strongly urge the USA to immediately correct its mistakes and stop provocative actions in the name of 'freedom of navigation.' USA provocations will only prompt the Chinese military to further upgrade its defense capabilities to firmly preserve national sovereignty and security".

"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and global laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", it said.

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