Beijing ‘angered’ as 2 USA warships enter S. China Sea - spokeswoman

Sergio Conner
February 11, 2019

11, the United States conducted another Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, sending two naval vessels near the Spratly Islands.

Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the PLA Navy warned the USS Spruance and USS Preble against approaching Chinese-claimed territory in the Spratly Islands.

Hua's warning came as both sides were in Beijing to prepare for a new round of talks this week. Hua said that China expressed firm opposition and dissatisfaction at the move.

'The relevant actions of the United States warships violated Chinese sovereignty, and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas, ' Hua said.

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The USS McCampbell destroyer conducted a "freedom of navigation" operation within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands five weeks ago to "challenge excessive maritime claims", according to the Pacific Fleet, which Beijing also protested.

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China has lashed out at the United States in the wake of another "freedom of navigation" exercise conducted by the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, accusing Washington of undermining "peace" and "security".

China firmly opposed the relevant action and urged the U.S.to immediately stop its provocations, Hua stressed.

Top US officials have attacked China for everything from human rights abuses to cyber espionage in America.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

"All operations are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", Doss said, adding "that is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe".

Washington has hit back in the past, claiming it is countering Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building army installations on artificial reefs and islands.

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

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