Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

USA destroyer sent to Chinese waters as North Korea crisis deepens

USA destroyer sent to Chinese waters as North Korea crisis deepens

McCain sailed near Mischief Reef in a "freedom of navigation" operation. The reef is part of a string of highly strategic islets and shoals where Beijing has built artificial islands to stage military bases.

Today's operation will likely complicate Donald Trump's hopes to persuade China to help rein in North Korea's nuclear programmes.

Cayetano made his claim when he justified on Tuesday, August 8, why the Philippines sought to exclude China's land reclamation activities from a joint statement by foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This amounts to an explicit recognition that the Philippines is toeing China's line as ASEAN's chair. The operation on Thursday punctuated that stance.

China expressed "strong dissatisfaction" Friday, after a US warship sailed near an artificial island in the strategic South China Sea. The Paracel chain is claimed by Vietnam, China and Taiwan.

According to Reuters, the maneuver by the USS John S. McCain was the third in a "freedom of navigation operation" or "fonop".

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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.

But observers ask is the technology actually being used as a political and military tool to secure its territorial ambitions.

Defending the first Chinese overseas naval base against accusations that it was created to amplify China's growing influence, Liang said it will act as a logistical center and support anti-piracy, United Nations peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief missions in the region. It added that USA moves "to pick quarrels and make troubles under the banner of "freedom of navigation" endangered lives and harmed regional stability.

While the communique mentioned the "importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants", it also zeroed in on the activities of "all other states". Recently, Vietnam discontinued plans to set up an offshore drilling rig in worldwide waters because China told them to.

"They happen off the coast of Canada" and "in the waters off shore of our major allies, friends, partners all around the world", she said.

Nicole Schwegman, spokeswoman for the US Pacific Fleet, said US military forces operate in the Asia Pacific region on a daily basis.

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Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan declined to comment on whether there had been a freedom of navigation operation, but said: "All operations are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

China on Wednesday expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to Japan's defence white paper for 2017 which accused Beijing of trying to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea based on "its own assertions". The move was opposed by many parties, including European allies, Japan and others, and the USA stepped back.

China has urged the United States to respect its sovereignty and security interests in South China Sea.

Beijing claims a massive section of the South China Sea that extends roughly 1,000 miles from its southern shores. The vessel passed the island at a distance of 12 miles as part of what the USA authorities called "freedom of navigation operation".

Its sweeping claims overlap with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei - all ASEAN members - as well as Taiwan.

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