Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Economy | By

China hopeful of trade war breakthrough

China hopeful of trade war breakthrough

The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 22kms of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation".

The U.S. and China had set a deadline of March 1 for an agreement on trade between the world's two largest economies.

The US Navy sent two guided-missile destroyers to challenge China in the South China Sea, and Beijing is outraged.

One of Donald Trump's most persistent economic promises has been to rewrite the USA relationship with China.

But Hua slammed the USA, arguing that "China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters". The official said Monday's operation focused on Mischief Reef, a location claimed by China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Beijing has voiced its "strong dissatisfaction" with the United States on Monday after two U.S. warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea. Clay Doss, a spokesman for USA 7th Fleet.

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

"There's been sort of a steady increase", Admiral John Richardson, the US Chief of Naval Operations, told reporters earlier this month when asked about China's militarization of the area.


In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands.

Monday's sail-by is the second U.S. freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea this year.

In late September, the USS Decatur also sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands.

During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 41kms of the U.S. warship, forcing it to manoeuvre to avoid a collision.

The USS Preble was one of two warships conducting the operation; they were shadowed by Chinese assets, but the interactions were routine and uneventful, according to a US official.

The two countries have traded barbs over what United States said was Beijing's military installation building on artificial islands and reefs. The Navy has carried out several FONOPS in the South China Sea in recent years, where China has built artificial islands and air strips and installed other military capabilities. China has developed a military infrastructure, including long runways used by jet fighters and deploying anti-aircraft missiles, on what had been low-lying reefs.

The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships near South China Sea islands and reefs claimed by Beijing to signal their right under global law to pass through the waters, invariably angering China.

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