China island-building still on

Pauline Gross
August 11, 2017

"According to the [Department of Foreign Affairs] they have already addressed this matter- that the area referred to is contested by both Vietnam and China, and not the Philippines", Abella said in a text message to CNN Philippines Thursday.

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.

The latest photos published by the CSIS were dated August 5, 2017.

Similar U.S. military operations took place in May and July.

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

In a joint statement after a meeting Monday of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Australian and Japanese counterparts, the three officials "expressed serious concerns over maritime disputes in the South China Sea".

The freedom of navigation operation was the third of its kind carried out by the United States since President Donald Trump took office in January.

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The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law. Its sweeping claims overlap with those of ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

Earlier, Mr Wang said talks on a nonaggression pact aimed at preventing clashes from erupting in the South China Sea may start this year if "outside parties" do not cause a major disruption, in an apparent reference to Washington and allies such as Japan.

McCain destroyer sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef - an artificial island built by China - on Thursday (Aug 10) as part of a "freedom of navigation" operation, a U.S. official said. It was not immediately clear whether the Chinese demanded the US destroyer leave as they have done in the past.

The Washington-based think tank said it was "false" for Cayetano and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to claim that China's reclamation activities ended in mid-2015 when it completed artificial islands in the Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea.

"China urges the USA to earnestly respect Chinese sovereignty and security interests as well as the joint effort by countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea", the ministry said.

"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.

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

Other reports by GizPress

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