Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Beijing protests USA navy destroyer's freedom of navigation operation in disputed waters

Beijing protests USA navy destroyer's freedom of navigation operation in disputed waters

The US navy destroyer, which sailed closed to the island claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, has violated worldwide law and endangered China's national security, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

This comes as the Trump administration has called on China to do more to reign in North Korea's nuclear missile program.

"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and worldwide laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement.

Attracted by the strategic military location and the prospect of oil, China, Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam have all laid territorial claim to the Spratly's and have occupied several islands.

China, which claims the South China Sea virtually in entirety, has protested such US military operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial rifts with Beijing.

He added that the Chinese Navy identified the warship, warned and expelled it. "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 holds indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and surrounding waters", Beijing's defense ministry said.

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"China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the U.S. side", the statement reads.

This, after the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI) in Washington D.C. published photos Wednesday showing continuing land reclamation in the South China Sea. 12 nautical miles from shore marks the territorial boundary for all nations.

Earlier Thursday, American warship USS John S. McCain sailed within a 12-mile range of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea, US officials told the media.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan declined to comment on whether there had been a freedom of navigation sailing but he said the United States would continue to do such operations. It was not immediately clear if the Chinese demanded the USA destroyer leave as they have done in the past.

"The South China Sea doesn't only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilising". Nicole Schwegman said all Navy operations "are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows". An estimated $5 trillion in annual trade passes through the waterway.

Trump responded by warning North Korea it would face "fire and fury" if it further threatened the United States.

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