World News

United States warship sails close to South China Sea island, China 'displeased'

United States warship sails close to South China Sea island, China 'displeased'

The US navy destroyer, which sailed closed to the island claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, has violated global law and endangered China's national security, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement the United States move undermined Chinese sovereignty and security and endangered the safety of frontline personnel from both sides.

It is believed to be the third time the US Navy has conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation or "fonop" under the Donald Trump presidency, Reuters reported.

It is the third time this year that U.S. ships traveled within 12 nautical miles of land claimed by China, the report said.

"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", Qian said.

They sought compliance with an arbitration ruling a year ago that invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea.

The country's Defense Ministry also lambasted the USA move, calling it a "provocative act" that had seriously damaged mutual trust.

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The South China Sea is filled with small islands, reefs and shoals and there are many territorial disputes between countries in the area.

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

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

"All operations are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows", she said.

"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. Beijing called the move a "serious political and military provocation".

Now it seems China's patience with the territorial row is running out. "The provocations of the U.S. would compel China to take measures to increase its defense capabilities buildups". The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

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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