Published: Tue, February 12, 2019

China strongly dissatisfied by USA warships entering South China Sea

China strongly dissatisfied by USA warships entering South China Sea

"That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe", he said.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters", she insisted.

Pentagon officials said two guided-missile destroyers had travelled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the fiercely disputed Spratly Islands.

"Such exercises have often been carried out by the U.S. Navy and have been the cause diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing".

Speaking about the most recent operation, Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, told CNN that the action was meant to "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by worldwide law".

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

Beijing sharply criticised the operation. Other regional nations-such as the Philippines and Vietnam-lay claim to part of the waterway and the USA routinely pushes back against China by sending ships to patrol the sea. The ships entered the waters without China's permission, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.The US warships sailed near the islands the same day that China resumed trade talks with Washington.

China's claim was largely discredited by an global arbitration tribunal three years ago, but Beijing has rejected the ruling.

"We conduct routine and regular freedom of navigation operations as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future", he said. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

China then accused the U.S. of trespassing, and Chinese media announced it had deployed a "far-reaching anti-ship ballistic missile", the DF-26, that was "capable of targeting medium and large ships". In September, a Chinese warship came within just 45 yards of a US destroyer, raising concerns about the possibility of tensions boiling over into conflict.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Monday said the People's Liberation Army Navy sent vessels to track the United States warships sailing near the Spratlys and warned them to leave the area.

The US Navy, however, has stressed that it's not going anywhere.

It remains to be seen if Monday's operation will impact the negotiations.

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