U.S. destroyer sails close to contested island in South China Sea
27 March, 2018, 19:09 | Author: Luis Fowler
"We conduct routine and regular freedom of navigation operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future", said Lieutenant Commander Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for US Pacific Fleet.
When asked about the operation, the USA military said its activities are carried out under global law and American forces operate in the region on a daily bases.
Beijing insists that the repeated dispatch of United States warships to the South China Sea is "undermining regional peace and stability" and hurting bilateral relations.
Beijing demands an end to United States "provocations actions which violate the sovereignty of the People's Republic and pose a serious threat to its security, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said in Beijing".
Beijing claims virtually the entire South China Sea, and has built up a series of man-made outposts in what the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank has said is a bid to create "fully functioning air and naval bases".
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. 'China holds indisputable sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea, ' Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said in a statement via CNN.
The South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, cited Ni Lexiong (倪樂雄), a Shanghai-based military expert, as saying the US was deliberately trying to put pressure on China with the warship as trade tensions between the two escalate. 'By repeatedly sending military ships into these areas without authorization, the USA has seriously harmed Chinese sovereignty and security, violated basic rules of worldwide relations, and harmed regional peace and stability'.
A rig, the Ensco 8504, was scheduled to depart from Singapore for the drill site on Thursday, the report said, citing an unnamed energy industry source.
In January, another US Navy destroyer sailed near Scarborough Shoal, a disputed lagoon claimed by China in the South China Sea. China asserted that two People's Liberation Army Navy frigates warded off the USA vessel.
Separately Friday, China's Navy said it would carry out "combat exercises" in the South China Sea in the coming days. China has territorial claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, which has put it at odds with its neighbors. Although the aircraft carrier was within the disputed stretch of the sea, the Taiwanese authorities did not raise a hue and cry about it because they thought it was part of China's annual drills.
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