United States team in Beijing for trade talks

11 Février, 2019, 23:22 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • United States team in Beijing for trade talks

The US is "determined to stir up trouble in the South China Sea, create tension and undermine peace", Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing.

"The US side will not fully remove the spectre of tariff hikes any time soon", Kuijs said, given that there is "broad support in the US for a hard stance on China". The deployment is seen as the latest attempt by Washington to stand up to what it believes are attempts by Beijing to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and other Southeast Asian navies operate.

Hua's warning came as both sides were in Beijing to prepare for a new round of talks this week.

Beijing and Washington remain at loggerheads over USA allegations for China's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

The two countries are trying to hammer out a trade deal weeks ahead of a March deadline when US tariffs on Chinese goods are scheduled to increase. The US labelled the Chinese warship's actions unsafe and unprofessional, while Beijing said the US was threatening the safety and sovereignty of China.

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

Beijing asserts almost all of the South China Sea as its territorial waters.

"Under such circumstances, the USA insistence on provocation, creating tensions and destroying the peace and stability of the South China Sea is unpopular", she said. The operation was the second in the South China Sea reported by the US Navy this year. In September, a Chinese warship came within just 45 yards of a USA destroyer, raising concerns about the possibility of tensions boiling over into conflict. "China urges the U.S. 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".

Monday's operation was carried out "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by worldwide law", Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy's 7th Fleet, said.

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