China protests after United States warship sails near island

12 August, 2017, 00:16 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • The USS John Mc Cain destroyer in the Asia Pacific region

Zhang Mingliang, a specialist on Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University in Guangzhou, said there had always been tensions between Vietnam and China.

Interaction between the Chinese and United States ships was "safe and professional", according to an unnamed U.S. official.

China's foreign ministry issued a statement labeling it a move of provocation, which quote "seriously harms mutual trust". "It has constructed several new facilities, including what appears to be a large administrative building in a newly-made clearing on the island", AMTI said.

The Spratly islands are claimed or partly occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei.

Beijing says US Navy warship sailing near disputed region violated global law and threatened its sovereignty.

This is the third time that the US Navy has conducted a "freedom of navigation operation" or "fonop" under the Donald Trump presidency.

China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area. The ruling was adamantly rejected by the Chinese government.

Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognized internationally.

The United States does not recognize China's claim of sovereignty in that location and regards the area as worldwide waters.

China said it was "displeased" after a United States warship sailed close to one of its artificial islands in the South China Sea as part of a "freedom of navigation" operation.

The reef is an artificial island built by China in the Spratly Islands, known by China as the Nansha Islands.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the USA official told AFP a Chinese frigate sent radio warnings at least 10 times to the USS McCain.


"They happen off the coast of Canada" and "in the waters off shore of our major allies, friends, partners all around the world", she said.

"We told them we are a United States (ship) conducting routine operations in worldwide waters", the official added.

The official said the interactions were all "safe and professional", with the operation lasting about six hours from start to finish.

'We express dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the Japan´s 2017 Defense White Paper, which contains statements about China's naval activities in the East and South Seas.

China's Foreign Ministry confirmed the patrol, saying that the operation had violated global and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security, adding that the Chinese Navy had "warned and expelled" the US warship.

"Vietnam has always been the country in Asean that has the strongest suspicions of Beijing. because it shares both a maritime and land border with China", Zhang said.

The so-called "freedom of navigation" mission involved the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer sailing within the 12-mile range of an artificial island reclaimed by China. "All operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever global law allows".

In their joint communique issued last Sunday, the ASEAN foreign ministers emphasized non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the disputed South China Sea.

AFP comments that in recent years Beijing has managed to weaken regional resistance to its South China Sea claims by courting some ASEAN members.

Geng said the Chinese navy "identified the U.S. warship, warned and expelled it".

"In other words, from our side, we find no objection".

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