U.S. team in Beijing for trade talks

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 12, 2019

The United States sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday (Sunday night, ET), a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.

The relevant action by the USA side infringed upon China's sovereignty, and undermined the peace, security, and order of the relevant waters, Hua said, adding that China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard itself. When asked if the Navy's move would affect the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called it "a series of US tricks, "according to Reuters".

"The relevant actions of the U.S. warships violated Chinese sovereignty and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas".

The USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation", CNN reported. "China urges the USA to immediately stop such provocative actions and earnestly respect the efforts by regional countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea".

Aerial view on the The Spratly Islands, one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some South-east Asian navies operate.

China says the bases are essential for self-defense and accused the USA of ramping up tensions in the region by sending battleships and warplanes close to the disputed islands.

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In mid-January, US and British warships conducted their first joint military exercises in the South China Sea since Beijing began building bases and air strips on islands.

During a South China Sea freedom-of-navigation operation in September, a Chinese destroyer challenged a US vessel to a showdown, forcing the US Navy ship off course and risking a deadly collision.

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

It comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and China over an ongoing trade war.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan all have competing claims for territory in the region.

It has claimed the U.S. is responsible for ratcheting up war fears in the region by sending warships and military planes close to territory China believes it is entitled to.

The two countries are also at loggerheads over regional security, with the U.S. offering support to the island nation of Taiwan, which China also claims as its own.

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