World

Beijing expresses anger at US Navy mission through disputed South China Sea

Beijing expresses anger at US Navy mission through disputed South China Sea

The two sides are trying to hammer out a deal before the March 1 deadline when USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

China illegally asserts control over the disputed Spratlys and surrounding waters.

The United States have sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea overnight, a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.

In September, a Chinese warship came within just 45 yards of a USA destroyer, raising concerns about the possibility of tensions boiling over into conflict.

The same day the latest talks began, two US warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, a USA official told Reuters.

'Spruance and Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law, ' said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy's Seventh Fleet cited by CNN.

"Spruance and Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law".




China's foreign ministry issued an angry response.

The US is "determined to stir up trouble in the South China Sea, create tension and undermine peace", Hua said.

The operation was the US's latest attempt to counter what it sees as China's mission to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters where Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian navies operated.

The United States is expected to keep pressing China on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies' intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports. The official said Monday's operation focused on Mischief Reef, a location claimed by China, Vietnam and the Philippines. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

It comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and China over an ongoing trade war.

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.

The two countries are also at loggerheads over regional security, with the U.S. offering support to the island nation of Taiwan, which China also claims as its own.