USA warship sails near islands claimed by China, angering Beijing

Aaron Brown
October 12, 2017

China has lodged a representation with the United States after a US destroyer intruded into China's territorial waters in the South China Sea.

According to the report, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chafee sailed near Chinese-controlled features in Paracel Islands but not within the range of 12 nautical miles.

The Chafee, a guided missile destroyer, entered China's territorial sea off the Xisha Islands on Tuesday and conducted a so-called "freedom of navigation" operation, without the permission of the Chinese government, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Wednesday. The Paracel archipelago is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while the Spratly Islands are additionally contested by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

China's Defense Ministry said on October 11 that a warship, two fighter jets and a helicopter had scrambled to warn the USS Chafee away, adding the vessel had infringed upon China's sovereignty and security with its "provocation".

She also said that China already lodged a protest to the United States government.

"We demand the USA side earnestly take steps to correct its mistakes", the ministry said in a statement.

The incident with the USS "Chafee" would affect trust between the militaries of the two countries, the ministry stated, adding that further operations of such nature might trigger "unwanted incidents".

U.S. President Donald Trump will makes his first visit to Asia as president next month. China is North Korea's neighbor and biggest trading partner.

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That agreement was signed after a USA destroyer sailed near a man-made island constructed by China as part of another "freedom of navigation" operation meant to challenge Beijing's territorial claims.

China's Foreign Ministry has also urged the USA to "respect the sovereignty and security" of the country and stop such "erroneous acts".

Twelve nautical miles mark internationally recognized territorial limits.

China claims the South China Sea and its islands virtually in their entirety.

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.

China, in turn, has accused the United States of illegally trespassing into what it sees as its territorial waters.

In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, all in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and may be fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

At a ceremony at the South Korean Embassy, Roh said he will explain to Beijing officials that Seoul's THAAD deployment is purely for defensive purposes against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and is not aimed at China.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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