Beijing has 'stern' words with US over warship in South China Sea
China has scolded the United States for once again sending warship to the South China Sea near islands claimed by Beijing.
Publish date : Saturday 1 December 2018 12:08
China foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said on Friday that US guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville sailed Chinese waters without permission on Monday and China had made its position known with its "stern representations.”
The navy ship sailed near the Paracel Islands to challenge China's "excessive maritime claims," the US Pacific fleet said in a statement.
The Chinese army said it had sent ships and planes to watch the US warship and to warn it to leave.
The warship’s passage through the contested waters was the latest move by the US navy to challenge what Washington calls Beijing’s attempt to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters mostly claimed by Beijing.
It was the second US naval operation to anger China this week.
On Wednesday, two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait, which China considers its territory, prompting a furious Beijing to send warships and fighter jets.
The naval operations have long been a source of tensions in the disputed waters also claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The US, which has been taking sides with several of China’s neighboring countries in their territorial disputes, accused China of undertaking a land reclamation program by building artificial islands in the Sea.
Beijing asserts its sovereignty over nearly all of the contested sea, which serves as a crossing for more $5 trillion worth of maritime trade annually.
China stresses that it “holds indisputable sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
The latest incident came as US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are due to hold a dinner meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina on Saturday.
Hopes for reaching a deal in Argentina on already escalated trade dispute, were also dashed after Trump threatened — just days before the summit— that current tariff levels on $200 billion of Chinese imports would rise as planned.
Trump also threatened tariffs on $267 billion of other Chinese exports to America.
Just before taking off for Argentina, he told reporters while China was interested in striking a deal, "I don't know if I want to do it" and "I like the deal we have now.”
The dispute started earlier this year, with the US accusing the Chinese of "unfair" trade practices and intellectual property theft.
China, which has hit the US with $3 billion of tariffs in April, already said that there was no winner in a trade war and that cooperation was the only correct choice.