Beijing accuses Washington of violation of its territorial waters

13 Août, 2017, 11:08 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. Mc Cain sailing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula

The US carries out freedom of navigation operations all over the world, but only China during its massive land grab of artificial islands in territory claimed by six other nations, vocally protests.

China's foreign ministry said: "The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and global laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security".

Under the Philippines' chairmanship, the regional body has effectively echoed China's position on the South China Sea, where Beijing is continuously expanding and upgrading artificial islands meant to reinforce its contentious claims to sovereignty.

"However, some parties from outside continue to meddle in the region under the guise of free navigation", Geng said. The ASEAN nations, in their final joint communiqué, agreed to go along with China's call for non-confrontational settlement of disputes in the South China Sea. Both the Navy and the missile forces were expected to get the bulk of China's annual defense budget, which previous year amounted to $152 billion, second only to that of the U.S.

It's part of the Spratly Islands, where China has built artificial islands to shore up its claim.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing over how to thwart North Korea's nuclear ambitions rose as the USA sent a navy destroyer into waters claimed by China.

Tensions have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests previous year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of U.N. sanctions which angered Pyongyang who threatened to teach the United States a "severe lesson".

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China's defense ministry said two Chinese warships "jumped into action" and warned the US ship to leave, labeling the move a "provocation" that seriously harms mutual trust.

Since the mid-1990s, China has increasingly resorted to delaying tactics in handling these maritime and territorial disputes.

The ship entered the Meiji Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on Thursday.

It was the third "freedom of navigation operation" during Trump's presidency.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) defended the statement of Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano that China has stopped its South China Sea reclamation activities in 2015, a claim refuted by a US-based think tank.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated on Thursday. For the USA, on the other hand, exaggerating the actual threat posed by North Korea is useful to legitimize its increased geostrategic presence in the Pacific, as well as to increase its military support for key allies in the region.

Zhang from Lingnan University said there could be more pressure applied by other rivals such as the US, Australia and Japan, which have previously voiced opposition to land reclamation and militarisation in the disputed waters, upsetting Beijing. Yet China apparently still claims the nine-dash line or exclusive economic zones (EEZs) from the Spratly features it occupies and has threatened to use force to back its claim.

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