China agitates against U.S. warship sailing near disputed islands

USS John S Mc Cain raised China's ire by sailing close to one of its artificial islands

China, which claims the South China Sea virtually in entirety, has protested such repeated USA military operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial rifts with Beijing.

Beijing upbraided the United States for the latest move. "They called and said "please turn around, you are in our waters", the official said.

The U.S.is reportedly concerned that China's construction of artificial islands and build-up of military facilities in the South China Sea are meant to restrict nautical movement in the area.

"China holds indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and surrounding waters", Beijing's defense ministry said.

Beijing claims nearly the entirety of the South China Sea, has deployed naval units and has reclaimed land from the sea to expand its presence, sparking protests from its neighbours.

He added that the Chinese Navy identified the warship, warned and expelled it.

"We told them we are a United States [ship] conducting routine operations in worldwide waters". Nicole Schwegman said all Navy operations "are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever global law allows". Beijing has reclaimed land in massive dredging operations, turning sandbars into islands equipped with airfields, ports and lighthouses.

"They are claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. Brunei claims an exclusive economic zone over this area".

The USS John S McCain destroyer sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef, part of the disputed Spratly Islands south of the Paracel Islands.

"But provocative actions by the USA like this one have seriously harmed mutual strategic trust, and caused difficulties and obstacles in developing military-to-military relations". "The provocations of the United States would compel China to take measures to increase its defense capabilities buildups". On Sunday China scored a coup when ASEAN ministers issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to its terms on talks at the Manila meeting.

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

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