USA destroyer in South China Sea called 'provocation' by Beijing

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 13, 2017

A U.S. Navy destroyer challenged China's territorial claim on trade routes in the South China Sea on Thursday when the vessel came within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island China built in the area.

"The US military's provocative actions will only encourage the Chinese military to further strengthen the defense capacity building and firmly defend national sovereignty and security", Qian said.

This is not the first a United States ship has sailed close to the disputed island in the South China Sea, last month the USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton island in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

In July, Beijing expressed its outrage over a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, the USS Stethem, entering the waters off the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, known in China as the Xisha Islands.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning to North Korea on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang that it should stop any actions that would lead to the "end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

China claims almost all of the strategically vital sea, through which $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes and is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits.

"Chinese Navy stated that it identified the US warship, warned and expelled it as some parties from outside continue to meddle in the region under the guise of "free navigation", Geng said".

However, President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen to tread softly on the territorial dispute and refused to invoke the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that recognized the Philippines' claims over China's.

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In a statement Friday, August 11, the DFA explained that the Philippines' position on the South China Sea dispute "is always based on the latest intelligence we have on the ground".

However, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said China was continuing to reclaim land in the Paracel Islands to the north of the Spratlys.

"Certain external forces are swimming against the current and continuing to stir up trouble under the pretext of "freedom of navigation, '" Mr. Geng said".

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. The U.S. and North Korea have been exchanging threats over North Korea's missile program.

At a time when China and South-East Asian countries have agreed to solve and manage the South China Sea issue through bilateral talks and to avoid influence by non-regional forces, the USA behaviour shows that Washington wants to maintain its presence in the region, instead of solving the issue, Zhou said.

Increasing activity by China's rapidly modernizing military has boosted tension in East Asia since the start of the year, as North Korea persists with ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests that have stoked fears in Japan, the United States and elsewhere.

The Guardian reported Friday a USA official said the Chinese frigate sent radio warning at least 10 times to the USS McCain.

China has refused to recognise a ruling by The Hague in 2016 that its historic "nine-dash line" claim to sovereignty over numerous islands is invalid, and is trying to reach its own settlement with rival claimants. USA officials say the military will continue to sail, fly and operate wherever permitted by global law. "Brunei claims an exclusive economic zone over this area", the CIA Factbook says. "It's true in other places around the world, as well", she added.

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