Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Trump Sends Navy Destroyer To Challenge China At Sea

Philippines offers North Korea ASEAN partner status Warning to China? USA launches Destroyer as North Korea row escalates
Edmund Wade | 12 August, 2017, 00:12

Beijing on Friday protested against a U.S. warship passing through waters near the Spratly Islands, a disputed area in the South China Sea.

In addition to freedom-of-navigation operations, the USA has also conducted bomber overflights in the South China Sea. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement.

China's foreign ministry said: "The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and global laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security".

"The South China Sea doesn't only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilising".

The US move will "compel China to take measures to further raise its capacity to defend national territory", he said.

A USA defense official said the plan was for the destroyer to sail within 6 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of the artificial islands built by China in the Spratlys. "All operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever global law allows".

A spokesman for the Chinese foreign minister said: "China dispatched military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the United States vessel".

China and the U.S. maintain different interpretations on worldwide law as applied to the operation of warships, and Beijing has ignored a Hague arbitration court's ruling that invalidated much of its South China Sea claim.

Speaking to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the authorities should verify first the reported reclamation activities of the Chinese government in several features in the contested waters.

McCain "traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals", Reuters reported.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claimed Tuesday the Philippines did not want to mention land reclamation in the Joint Communiqué of the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as China is no longer reclaiming land.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with this", Geng said in a statement, adding that Beijing would lodge an official protest with Washington.

The South China Sea is crucial for Chinese foreign trade, serving as a major transportation route for minerals, energy and Chinese-made goods.

China has constructed airstrips and hangars and protected harbors for the air and naval units in the Paracel Islands.

John McCain's father and grandfather, both U.S. Navy admirals.

The US is not a party to the disputes in the busy and potentially oil- and gas-rich waters that also involve Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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.

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