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Beijing says it has presented “severe representations” to Washington after a US naval warship near the disputed islands in the South China Sea and urged the Chinese military to scramble warplanes and ships to warn it.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the United States violated Chinese law after its guided missile destroyer, the USS McCampbell, sailed 12 nautical miles from the Xisha Island chain, called Paracel by rivals of Beijing
The spokesman of the ministry, Lu Kang, urged Washington to stop such actions in the strategic waters, mostly claimed by Beijing.
“We urge the United States to stop this kind of provocation immediately,” he said, adding that China had sent military ships and planes to identify and warn about the ship.
Earlier, US Navy spokeswoman Rachel McMarr said in an e-mailed statement that the warship had sailed close to the islands “to challenge excessive maritime claims.”
The operation was not about a single country or to make a political statement, he said.
China has constantly warned Washington that close military encounters by air and the naval forces of the two countries in the region could easily trigger miscalculations or even accidents at sea or in the air.
USA UU., Which is on the side of China’s rivals in their territorial claims, says that these military operations are meant to protect the “freedom of navigation” at sea, a gateway for trillions of dollars in maritime trade each year .
The waters are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Brunei.
Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an order calling on the armed forces to prepare for a “comprehensive military struggle” amid an era of drastic changes.
At a meeting of the Central Military Commission held in Beijing, he said that several predictable and unpredictable risks and challenges have arisen and that the armed forces must be able to respond quickly to emergencies and feed new types of combat forces.
The development came as a delegation of US negotiators is in Beijing for talks on a bitter trade dispute between the two economic powers.
The dispute began when United States President Donald Trump announced in June 2018 that the value of $ 50 billion in Chinese products would be subject to a 25 percent tariff in an attempt to “fix” the trade deficit between United States and China. Since then, the two countries have exchanged several rounds of trade tariffs.
However, the two leaders reached an agreement on a truce on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in December 2018. So far, the ceasefire has shown some signs of progress and the absence of new threats by of White House.
Source: ES News-Front