U.S. warship sails close to South China Sea island, China 'displeased'

2011 the USS John S. Mc Cain destroyer sails off the coast of Vietnam

A maritime dispute in the South China Sea flared up on Thursday when a U.S. destroyer sailed near man-made island claimed by China, a move Beijing labeled a "provocation" and the United States called appropriate under global law.

The warship spat comes as a war of words between the US and North Korea escalates and President Donald Trump pushes China to do more to reign in Pyongyang's threats.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies's (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has published new satellite photos dated August 5, 2017 on China's expansion in the Paracel Islands, which are being claimed by Beijing, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

"China has indisputable sovereignty of the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and such a move severely undermines China's sovereignty and security, and severely endangers the safety of frontline personnel of both sides", he said.

It comes as Donald Trump has urged China to do more to solve a worsening stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

The CSIS report said 64 per cent of China's maritime trade passed through the sea, compared to 14 per cent of U.S. maritime trade.

China's Defence Ministry said it expressed its strong opposition to the United States for the "show of force".




The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S McCain travelled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

"The Chinese military is firmly opposed to such flaunting of force and promotion of militarization in the region by the US, which could easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air".

China has voiced discontent with the United States after an American warship sailed near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea. Although the Philippines has taken steps to improve ties with China under its current leader, Rodrigo Duterte, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Friday "we don't find (the sail-by) objectionable".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also claimed that China had stopped reclaiming in the South China Sea two years ago.

"Since then, China has undertaken additional reclamation on the southern end of North island and built a retaining wall around the seven acres of new land to prevent further erosion".

The Paracels play "a key role in China's goal of establishing surveillance and power projection capabilities throughout the South China Sea", the report said.

Additional reporting from Reuters. It is also believed to be rich in natural resources, including oil. Washington, however, has declared it in its interest to ensure that the conflicts are resolved peacefully and that freedom of navigation and overflight remain unhampered. Around £3.85 trillion of ship-borne trade passes through the area every year.

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