China Lashes Out At US Navy Ship Reportedly In South China Sea

Sunday's operation, which involved the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based USS Stethem guided-missile destroyer, was conducted within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago, a USA defense official confirmed to The Japan Times.

Moreover, China "dispatched military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the USA vessel".

Trump is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, later this week.

During the call, Mr Xi told Mr Trump that "negative factors" were affecting US-China relations, according to a read-out of the call carried on Chinese state TV.

"Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula", the statement said.

The Pentagon sent a US Navy warship to sail close to a disputed South China Sea island on Sunday, Fox News reports.

What happened near Triton Island?

"Unlike in the Spratlys, where China has created new artificial territory in the last several years, it has effectively controlled the Paracels since 1974", said Mira Rapp-Hooper, a South China Sea expert at the Centre for a New American Security told Reuters.

In response, China trailed the U.S. destroyer with one of its own warships, two USA defense officials told Fox News.

The United Nations says countries can establish the reach of their territorial waters up to a limit of 12 nautical miles.

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It also accused the USA of "deliberately stirring up troubles" in the region as China and Southeast Asian neighbours have "cooled down and improved the situation".

Satellite images from the Center for Strategic and International Studies taken in recent weeks show China has not only constructed four shelters for missiles at Fiery Cross Reef, its military has also expanded communications and radar capabilities.

"We conduct routine and regular [freedom of navigation operations], as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future", a spokesman said.

"We firmly opposed to the U.S. behavior of showing force and boosting regional militarization, and have made solemn representation to the USA side", Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said at the time.

Sunday's operation will may draw extra scrutiny given a series of other actions taken by the Trump administration in recent days that may be suggestive of a change in approach by the United States to the U.S.

On May 25, the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed less than 12 nautical miles from Mischief Reef - part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, south of the Paracel Islands. For the time being, they remain inside China but could be moved outside China to the illegal military bases in the South China Sea, where they could be used to target any aircraft, including American unarmed surveillance flights.

A spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet declined to comment on any specific operations but said that all U.S. operations are conducted in accordance with global law, including those in the South China Sea. He has now announced a $ 1.42 arms deal with Taiwan and also upped the scale of #Freedom Of Navigation exercises in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane that is believed to be rich in resources.

The area is a major shipping route, and a rich fishing ground, and is thought to have abundant oil and gas reserves. This FONOP was intended specifically to challenge the competing claims on the island chain of three nations, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China. China claims the largest portion of territory.

China has rapidly built reefs in the area into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes. However, it denies any offensive agenda, saying the facilities are for civilian and defense purposes, BBC reported.

  • Jack Mann