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China slams US Navy's new 'provocation' in South China Sea

12 August 2017

"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.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan's Taro¯ Ko¯no, also called on ASEAN foreign ministers to swiftly negotiate a legally binding code of conduct with China aimed at preventing an escalation of conflicts in the West Philippine Sea, one of the world's busiest waterways.

The so-called "freedom of navigation" mission involved the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer sailing within the 12-mile range of an artificial island reclaimed by China, Reuters reported, citing U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was the third "freedom of navigation operation" during Trump's presidency. US officials say the military will continue to sail, fly and operate wherever permitted by global law.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and is now building multiple artificial islands in the area to control them as more than half of the world s annual cargo fleet passes through it.

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However, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said China was continuing to reclaim land in the Paracel Islands to the north of the Spratlys.

It's true in the South China Sea.

More significantly, the latest United States naval patrol comes days after a meeting of China and ASEAN foreign ministers in the Philippines had agreed a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea which is contested by multiple claimants including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines.

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".

It comes amid soaring tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Kim Jong-un's missile programme, and as the United Nations is urging China to increase pressure on North Korea.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

According to a USA defense official, the US destroyer was planning to sail within 6 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of Beijing's man-made islands.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and is now building multiple artificial islands in the area to control them as more than half of the world's annual cargo fleet passes through it.

China's "nine-dash line" - its claimed territorial waters that extend hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan - abut its neighbors' claims and, in some cases, encroach upon them.

The archipelago is claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. Since 1985 Brunei has claimed a continental shelf that overlaps a southern reef but has not made any formal claim to the reef.

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China slams US Navy's new 'provocation' in South China Sea