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Is China's Fleet of Underwater Ocean Drones for Science, or Military Power?

Is China's Fleet of Underwater Ocean Drones for Science, or Military Power?

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

A U.S. Navy official told The Associated Press that the destroyer USS John S. McCain sailed past Mischief Reef on Thursday.

Firing back at criticism of China's activities, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that China had "stopped or already completed land reclamation" on its holdings in the South China Sea two years ago.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing over how to thwart North Korea's nuclear ambitions rose as the USA sent a navy destroyer into waters claimed by China.

The statement Friday does not mention any specific actions China would be willing to take, although some Chinese scholars and state media have called on Beijing to take on a shuttle diplomacy role to facilitate talks between the US and North Korea.

Beijing managed not only to deflect criticism of its aggressive behavior in the adjacent waters of the South China Sea, but also to reshape ASEAN's regional agenda in its own image. The U.S. and North Korea have been exchanging threats over North Korea's missile program.

China's Defense Ministry said two Chinese warships "jumped into action" and warned the U.S. ship to leave, labelling the move a "provocation" that seriously harms mutual trust, Reuters said.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated on Thursday.

China's foreign ministry said the operation had "violated global and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security".

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US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning to North Korea on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang that it should stop any actions that would lead to the "end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

China's "nine-dash line" - its claimed territorial waters that extend hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan - abut its neighbors' claims and, in some cases, encroach upon them.

"As you all know, United States forces will operate in the Asia-Pacific region".

All or parts of the islands and territorial waters in the South China Sea are disputed by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei.

In a statement Friday, August 11, the DFA explained that the Philippines' position on the South China Sea dispute "is always based on the latest intelligence we have on the ground". China has ignored and dismissed the ruling as a sham.

Though Philippines and China are working towards achieving closer diplomatic ties, the Southeast Asian country has denied the claims that it is becoming China's spokesperson to the ASEAN community.

The Djibouti base will also provide a resting place for Chinese navy personnel, he said.

Beijing claims most of the sea and has been turning reefs in the Spratlys and Paracel chains into islands, installing military aircraft and missile systems on them - an activity the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said was continuing.

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