US Navy destroyer conducts operation in South China Sea

11 August, 2017, 18:07 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Philippines Alan Peter Cayetano makes opening the speech of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers Meeting in Manila Philippines

Navy destroyer carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, US officials said.

USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S McCain travelled to within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals.

China, which claims the South China Sea virtually in entirety including Mischief Reef, has protested such repeated U.S. military operations. President Trump has been urging China to use its influence with North Korea to help address the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program.

Chinese Foreign Minister also claimed in an interview Monday that China has finished land reclamation over two years ago, and that those bringing up the issue on reclamation are the ones doing it. "This clearly shows who does not want a stable South China Sea and who is the major force driving the militarization in these waters", the ministry spokesperson said.

"They called and said 'Please turn around, you are in our waters, '" the newspaper's source said.

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

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday the operations are being conducted "in accordance with global law". USA officials say the military will continue to sail, fly and operate wherever permitted by global law.

China reiterated that the US provocation will force PLA to take further measures to strengthen homeland defense capacity.

The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law.

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

"The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs surrounded by rich fishing grounds - and potentially by gas and oil deposits", the CIA World Factbook said.

Its sweeping claims overlap with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei - all Asean members - as well as Taiwan. "We strongly urge the United States to immediately correct its mistakes and stop provocative actions in the name of 'freedom of navigation.' USA provocations will only prompt the Chinese military to further upgrade its defense capabilities to firmly preserve national sovereignty and security".

It continued that the USA sailing had violated both worldwide and Chinese law and, at the same time, had posed a threat to Beijing's security and sovereignty.

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