Beijing ‘angered’ as 2 USA warships enter S. China Sea - spokeswoman

Lester Mason
February 11, 2019

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.

The Chinese side immediately conducted verification and identification on the USA ships and warned them to leave, said the spokeswoman.

The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble travelled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands, which China claims ownership of.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson also said the United States warships entered the waters without Beijing's permission.

"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 carried out "in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", Cdr.

Communist superpower China claims ownership over nearly all of the South China Sea - frequently slamming the United States and its allies for naval operations in the territory.

Beijing asserts almost all of the South China Sea as its territorial waters, while Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts.

She demanded the USA "immediately stop its provocative actions" after the two United States guided-missile destroyers conducted what Washington called "freedom of navigation" exercises in the area. The US labelled the Chinese warship's actions unsafe and unprofessional, while Beijing said the US was threatening the safety and sovereignty of China.

Tensions came to the fore in September, when a Chinese warship and US destroyer came within 45 yards of collision in the waters, renewing concerns about the risk of US-China confrontation.

Tensions have been high for years between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea, with the USA regularly drawing Chinese ire.

China defends its construction as necessary for self-defence and says it is the U.S. that is responsible for ratcheting up tensions in the region by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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