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Beijing Outraged as US Destroyer Approaches Disputed South China Sea Island

12 Août 2017

China has accused the United States government of violating global laws as well as severely harming Beijing's sovereignty and security when it sanctioned a U.S. navy destroyer to carry out a "freedom of navigation operation" near a disputed island in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.

The official told The Associated Press that Chinese vessels were in the vicinity when the USS John S. McCain sailed in a "routine" freedom of navigation operation near Mischief Reef Thursday.

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing. Beijing said the move was aimed at challenging its "indisputable sovereignty" over the disputed waters.

Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show that the United States does not recognize territorial claims there.

USA national security advisor Lt Gen H R McMaster had said recently that "China is not doing enough on North Korea which continues to violate global norms by conducting missile tests".

Two other US Navy ships approached China-claimed islands in the South China Sea in July and May.

China has territorial disputes with its neighbours over the area.

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The United States has said that it would like to see more worldwide participation in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

The whole territory of the South China Sea, which is believed to be extremely rich in energy resources, is disputed.

Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the situation in the South China Sea has "stabilised" due to the "joint efforts" of China and neighbouring countries but the United States operation threatened "peace and stability in the region".

The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law.

"The US provocation also forced the Chinese side to take measures to further enhance the national defense capability", the ministry added. The operations, according to anonymous officials, were meant to challenge China's claim on trade routes now contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

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

Beijing Outraged as US Destroyer Approaches Disputed South China Sea Island