China protests U.S. ship near South China Sea island

13 August, 2017, 11:08 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. Mc Cain sailing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula

Both the Navy and the missile forces were expected to get the bulk of China's annual defense budget, which a year ago amounted to $152 billion, second only to that of the U.S.

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

THERE is a renewed call from the rest of the world urging China to respect the year-old decision of the Permanent Arbitration Court (PAC) and compliance with the ruling that invalidated China's vast claims to the disputed waters.

The head of China's air force has blasted a Japanese Defense Ministry white paper critical of Chinese military drills in and over waters near Japan, saying "the Sea of Japan is not Japan's sea".

It also came days after China and Asean countries adopted the framework in Manila for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The Chinese military "immediately sent out warships" with two missile frigates identifying the USA naval destroyer and warning it away from Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, which China calls the Nansha Islands, according to China's foreign ministry.

But the U.S. has snubbed that claim by sailing ships through the huge waterway.

The second US Freedom of Navigation operation in the South China Sea under President Donald Trump was carried out in early July, and was also condemned by China.

McCain entered the neighboring waters of relevant islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao without the permission of the Chinese government.

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China has been especially assertive in the area recently, and has not shied away from harsh diplomatic confrontation with the other claimants.

But Beijing's reaction to the latest American naval operation has underscored that China has its own geopolitical sore points with the White House, including weapons sales to Taiwan and the repeated freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

Beijing claims a massive section of the South China Sea that extends roughly 1,000 miles from its southern shores. "Brunei claims an exclusive economic zone over this area", the CIA Factbook says. The US destroyer Dewey did so in May.

The US Navy has sailed the "USS John S. McCain" past an island in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea, US officials told media.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to the press about the matter.

"They called and said 'Please turn around, you are in our waters, '" the newspaper's source said. Recently, Vietnam discontinued plans to set up an offshore drilling rig in global waters because China told them to.

When questioned about the operation at a Malacañang press briefing today (Friday, August 11), presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government did not object to the USA destroyer's operation.

Perturbed by China's assertiveness, foreign ministers from the U.S., Australia and Japan released a joint statement, calling on "China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal's 2016 award in the Philippines-China arbitration, as it is final and legally binding on both parties".

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