World News

USA warship sails close to Chinese-controlled features in South China Sea

USA warship sails close to Chinese-controlled features in South China Sea

The US decision to send Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, is seen as an attempt to counter what Washington regards as Chinese efforts to establish its hegemony over the region and reduce American influence over the strategic waters. But it was not as provocative as previous ones carried out since Trump took office in January.

Vietnam, China, and Taiwan all have overlapping claims in Paracel Islands.

China's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that a warship, two fighter jets and a helicopter had scrambled to warn the USA ship away, adding it had infringed upon China's sovereignty and security with its "provocation".

The incident with the USS "Chafee" would affect trust between the militaries of the two countries, the ministry stated, adding that further operations of such nature might trigger "unwanted incidents".

The US "stirs up trouble" and runs "in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development", a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the time.

China is protesting the sailing of a US Navy ship near its territorial claims in the South China Sea, saying it will continue to take measures to protect Beijing's interests in the vital waterway claimed by several nations. China is North Korea's neighbor and biggest trading partner.

The destroyer, however, did not violate the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands, according to a Reuters report, citing USA military officials.

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Twelve nautical miles mark internationally recognized territorial limits.

The number of medical tourists from the United States inched down 4.6 percent on-year during the cited period, the data showed. Beijing accuses the USA of violating its sovereignty, while Washington claims the missions support "freedom of navigation" in the region.

China's Foreign Ministry has also urged the United States to "respect the sovereignty and security" of the country and stop such "erroneous acts".

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.

Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory, and China announced the baseline of territorial waters off these islands in 1996, according to Hua.

Trump's trip to Asia will likely be dominated by the North Korean nuclear threat.

The incident comes as US officials are pressing China to use more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to prevent further military escalation in the region.


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