China protests USA warship approaching Meiji reef

John S. Mc Cain at sea

China protests USA warship approaching Meiji reef

With all eyes on North Korea after President Trump promised "fire and fury", the U.S. Navy quietly dispatched a warship to sail by one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement the United States move undermined Chinese sovereignty and security and endangered the safety of frontline personnel from both sides.

In July, a US Navy destroyer sailed within 12 miles of another disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, also a "freedom of navigation exercise".

In July, a US warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam.

He said Chinese Navy identified the US warship, warned and expelled it.

USA navy warship enters China's water.

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But Nicole Schwegman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that United States forces operated in the Asia Pacific region on a daily basis.

"All operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows". On Sunday China scored a coup when ASEAN ministers issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to its terms on talks at the Manila meeting.

The Trump administration has vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations.

Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show the USA does not recognise territorial claims there.

China considered this a large concession to the US, the Guardian said. The operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law.

"The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs surrounded by rich fishing grounds - and potentially by gas and oil deposits", the CIA World Factbook said.

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China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Defense Ministry said USA and Chinese military relations are generally "stable" but said such actions foster mistrust between the nations.

China called it a "serious political and military provocation".

The Foreign Ministry also said tensions have eased because of regional efforts.

Chinese authorities claim 90 percent of the area and have repeatedly said that the country's activities in the region are China's sovereign right.

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