Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

China opposes United States move to send its warship in South China Sea

China opposes United States move to send its warship in South China Sea

Beijing condemned the mission of the guided-missile destroyer USS 'Chafee, ' which on Tuesday sailed within 16 nautical miles of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, within the framework of a so-called "freedom of navigation" operation.

"China urges the USA side to respect Chinese sovereignty and security interests as well as the efforts of regional countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea", Hua said, calling for a stop of such wrong actions.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Wednesday denounced the mission as unsafe and a violation of China's sovereignty. Tensions flared in 2014 when China installed exploratory oil rigs in the vicinity. The American vessel conducted normal manoeuvring operations near the Paracel Islands, and a string of islets, reefs and shoals in the sea area.

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Tensions have ratcheted up as China has reclaimed land in massive dredging operations, turning sandbars into islands equipped with airfields, ports and lighthouses.

"China immediately sent naval vessels and military jets to investigate and identify, as well as warn to the vessel and ask it to leave", Hua said in a daily news briefing.

United States ships have repeatedly sailed past the disputed islets in the South China Sea, triggering an angry reaction from China.

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US defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the USS Chafee carried out normal maneuvering operations that challenged "excessive maritime claims" near the Paracel Islands. In the previous year, the Navy has conducted several operations to challenge Beijing's stance.

The Chinese Defense Ministry denounced the operation as a "provocation" and said it was "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 called that action "a serious political and military provocation".

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