China strongly dissatisfied by USA warships entering South China Sea

Lester Mason
February 11, 2019

The United States sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday (Sunday night, ET), a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.

The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed near the Beijing-claimed Spratly Islands earlier Monday as part of what Washington calls "freedom of navigation operations", Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing. The news comes on the day that a US trade delegation arrived in Beijing for another round of talks in the ongoing trade conflict between USA and China. 'The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition'. The US labeled the Chinese warship's actions unsafe and unprofessional, while Beijing said the US was threatening the safety and sovereignty of China.

The sail-bys were conducted as both sides prepared for crucial trade talks in Beijing this week, seeking to avoid an all-out trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

But Hua slammed the US, arguing that "China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters".

The USS McCampbell destroyer conducted a "freedom of navigation" operation within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands five weeks ago to "challenge excessive maritime claims", according to the Pacific Fleet, which Beijing also protested.


The alleged incursion by two US warships into the internationally disputed waters of the South China Sea was the second such move within five weeks.

'China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters, ' Hua said.

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 United States.

"That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe", he said. China says the construction is necessary for defence, and it was the United States that was responsible for tensions by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have territorial claims in the region. China claims a large part of the South China Sea, and has built artificial islands and air bases there, prompting concern around the region and in Washington.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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