Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Health Care | By Jan Bell

U.S. warship sails near island; China protests

U.S. warship sails near island; China protests

China on Thursday voiced strong protest against a US Navy warship passing close to the Meiji Reef in the South China Sea.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the actions of the USS John S. McCain had violated Chinese and worldwide law, "seriously" impairing the country's sovereignty and security.

In July, a U.S. warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam.

U.S. national security advisor Lt Gen H R McMaster had said recently that "China is not doing enough on North Korea which continues to violate global norms by conducting missile tests".

This, after the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI) in Washington D.C. published photos Wednesday showing continuing land reclamation in the South China Sea.

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A US Navy destroyer came within twelve nautical miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, Reuters reported even as tensions between US and North Korea continued to grab world headlines.

China expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" with the U.S. over the Navy's latest freedom of navigation operation in which a warship sailed past one of China's man-made islands in the strategic South China Sea.

Vietnam has competing claims over the Spratly Islands and was reportedly recently threatened by China to stop oil drilling.

It was the third mission aimed at challenging China's claim on the territory under the Trump administration.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out that that the so-called USA "freedom of navigation" mission was carried out without authorization from Beijing, with has "indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratley) and its surrounding waters". The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement.

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"We urge the United States to immediately correct its mistake, stop provocations in the name of "freedom of navigation"," it said.

Geng said, "China has the firm determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests".

Although the final joint communique decried militarization in the South China Sea, it neither mentioned Manila's arbitration win nor called for a legally binding code of conduct in the disputed waters. Therefore, China's legitimate activities within its territorial sea will continue as a routine, according to the statement.

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

The USS John S McCain destroyer cnducted a fereedom of navigation patrol in disputed waters of the South China Sea on Thursday. "We told them we are a United States (ship) conducting routine operations in worldwide waters".

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The archipelago is claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines.

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