Published: Ср, Октября 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

USA warship sails near islands China claims in South China Sea

USA warship sails near islands China claims in South China Sea

On Tuesday, three US officials confirmed that a US Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.

The operation was part of a longstanding effort to challenge Beijing's "excessive maritime claims", the officials said, adding that the United States does not recognize China's claim of sovereignty in that location and regards the area as global waters. But it was not as provocative as previous ones carried out since Trump took office in January.

The official emphasized that the USS Chafee, a guided missile destroyer, did not come within the internationally recognized 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the Paracel Islands.

"China immediately sent naval vessels and military jets to investigate and identify, as well as warn to the vessel and ask it to leave", she told a daily news briefing on Wednesday.

Top US and Chinese military commanders signed a deal in August to improve communications between the two forces amid ongoing disputes in the South and East China seas - a move meant to reduce the chances of "miscalculation".

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She said the US military ship's conduct violated Chinese and relevant global laws, seriously damaged China's sovereignty and security interests, and put the lives of people at the frontline at risk. China is North Korea's neighbour and biggest trading partner.

The US Navy missile destroyer Chafee entered into China's territorial waters near the Sansha islands on Tuesday.

China said today it has lodged a protest with the United States after an American warship sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Expressing firm opposition to the USA move, Hua said China will continue to take resolute measures to protect its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim territory in the vast sea.However, Hua said: "The Chinese government will continue to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime entitlements".

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