China Upbeat on US Trade Talks, But S. China Sea Tensions Weigh

12 Février, 2019, 05:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • An official said the two US guided-missile destroyers traveled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands

According to reports, the USS Spruance and USS Preble, both guided-missile destroyers, sailed within 22 km of the Spratly Island chain.

China accused the USA of "tricks" as two American warships sailed through waters claimed by Beijing on the eve of high-level trade talks.

11, the United States conducted another Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, sending two naval vessels near the Spratly Islands.

The spokesperson also demanded the USA stop what she called its "provocative actions", adding her country will take necessary actions to protect state sovereignty.

She urged the United States to cease the "provocative actions". "The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition", Hua 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.

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

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United States team in Beijing for trade talks
Hua's warning came as both sides were in Beijing to prepare for a new round of talks this week. The operation was the second in the South China Sea reported by the US Navy this year.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, as do several of its neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

"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, adding "that is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe". In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the U.S. warship, forcing it to maneuver to avoid a collision.

Washington has hit back in the past, claiming it is countering Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building army installations on artificial reefs and islands.

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

Fears have grown in recent months that the US-China trade dispute is just one element in a bilateral relationship that is fast cooling across the board, with top US administration officials sharply criticising Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber espionage in the US.

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

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