U.S. destroyer challenges China's claims in South China Sea
A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The operation came as President Donald Trump's administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.
It was the third "freedom of navigation operation" or "fonop" conducted during Trump's presidency.
The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China's cooperation to rein in North Korea.
China's foreign ministry said the operation had violated international and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security.
"China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the U.S. side," the ministry said in a statement.
The United States has criticized China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.
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 they are separate from political considerations.
The Trump administration has vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations.
In July, a U.S. warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam.
Experts and officials have criticized former President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping.
China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with international law.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests last year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of U.N. sanctions. That angered Pyongyang which has threatened to teach the United States a "severe lesson".
Trump responded by warning North Korea it would face "fire and fury" if it further threatened the United States.
Related news releases
- 23.08.2017UN agencies offer emergency assistance to Iraqis fleeing Tal Afar
- 23.08.2017Maduro: Venezuela-US relations at ‘worst moment’
- 23.08.2017US talked to Russia, China about role in Afghan peace process - Tillerson
- 22.08.2017China urges U.S. to fix 'mistake' of sanctioning firms over North Korea
- 22.08.2017US backs Iraq’s territorial integrity: Defense minister
- 22.08.2017Unknown security threat causes lockdown at White House
- 22.08.2017Protesters storm Charlottesville city council meeting
- 22.08.2017U.S., North Korea clash at U.N. forum over nuclear weapons
- 22.08.2017US adds 4 Russian nationals in sanctions list
- 22.08.2017Trump: No timetable for Afghan troop withdrawal
- 21.08.2017Secret Service budget takes blow protecting Trump
- 20.08.2017Second officer dies in Florida police shooting
- 20.08.2017Veteran NAFTA negotiators likely to deflect political pressures
- 20.08.2017Counterprotest derails 'free speech' rally in US city
- 19.08.2017Boston march against right-wing rally draws thousands
- 19.08.2017Earthquake of 6.4 magnitude strikes west of Tonga
- 19.08.2017US has no intention to stay in Syria: State Dept
- 19.08.2017Romania negotiating to buy U.S. rocket systems worth $1.25 billion: Pentagon
- 19.08.2017U.S. State Department email restored after global outage
- 19.08.2017Oil jumps 3 percent as dollar falls, U.S. rig count drops
- 18.08.2017Rare US solar eclipse to help unlock sun's secrets
- 18.08.2017Trump fires adviser Bannon
- 18.08.2017UN Security Council condemns Barcelona terrorist attack
- 17.08.2017White House chief of staff briefs Trump on Barcelona incident
- 17.08.2017At least 13 dead in terror attack in Barcelona - UPDATED - VIDEO
- 17.08.2017Clashes at Venezuelan Prison Kill 37 Inmates, Wound 4
- 17.08.2017At least six killed in suspected gang attack at Guatemala hospital
- 17.08.2017Mike Pence urges four South American nations to cut contacts with North Korea
- 17.08.2017US Black Hawk missing in Hawaii, search underway for crew
- 17.08.2017Trump ends business councils after mass resignations
- 16.08.2017Explosion occurs at plaza Venezuela metro station in Caracas
- 16.08.2017Trump: Both sides to blame in Charlottesville violence
- 16.08.2017Colombia’s FARC to become political party with new name, same acronym
- 16.08.2017U.S. confident of 'peaceable' Venezuelan solution
- 16.08.2017US senator McCain urges Trump to promote free trade as NAFTA talks begin
- 15.08.2017U.S. sanctions hit Russian hopes of a 'Trump bump' for investment
- 15.08.2017Oil prices steady after overnight tumble on dollar strength
- 15.08.2017Venezuela's Maduro seeks to capitalize on Trump's military threat
- 15.08.2017Pence says 'failed state' in Venezuela threatens United States
- 15.08.2017Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists
- 11.08.2017Trump escalates warning to North Korea
- 11.08.2017Trump declares national emergency on opioid abuse
- 11.08.2017Venezuela's Maduro says ready for talks with Trump
- 10.08.2017US strongly reacts to Putin's visit to Abkhazia
- 10.08.2017Guam governor says 'no panic' on US pacific island over North Korea's threat
- 10.08.2017Cuban diplomats expelled from US over mystery illness