Beijing protests U.S. navy destroyer's freedom of navigation operation in disputed waters

Pauline Gross
August 12, 2017

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show the USA does not recognise territorial claims there.

"That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe", she said.

The ruling invalidated Beijing's claim to sovereignty over large swaths of the South China Sea.

"The Chinese army immediately sent warships (to the area) in accordance with the law to implement the identification of the USA ship and warn it off", the spokesperson said.

"And the point of that is to demonstrate that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows".

The South China Sea is crucial for Chinese foreign trade, serving as a major transportation route for minerals, energy and Chinese-made goods. "We told them we are a United States (ship) conducting routine operations in global waters".

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The Spratlys are about 600 miles from the Chinese coast. It is also believed to be rich in natural resources, including oil.

"They are claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines".

The Spratly Islands, also known as the Nansha Islands, are disputed territory between China and a number of United States allies, including Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Since 1985 Brunei has claimed a continental shelf that overlaps a southern reef but has not made any formal claim to the reef.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals.

China called it a "serious political and military provocation".

Although China opposes inclusion of the sea disputes in worldwide conferences, partly to prevent the U.S. and other Western governments from intervening, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan's new top diplomat, Taro Kono, expressed concern over aggressive actions in the waters. "The provocations of the United States would compel China to take measures to increase its defense capabilities buildups".

"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and worldwide laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", it said.

Other reports by GizPress

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