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China condemns US for South China Sea freedom of navigation operation

China condemns US for South China Sea freedom of navigation operation

A Chinese destroyer came aggressively close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea, forcing it to manoeuvre to prevent a collision, American military officials said.

Beijing accused the United States Tuesday of threatening its sovereignty by placing a warship near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea.

China is sensitive about such USA operations, especially when vessels are sent into areas where China has installed military facilities on artificial islands created on disputed features. "Captains get very nervous when ships get closer than 1,000 yards (915 metres)", said Schuster, who now lectures at Hawaii Pacific University.

According to another US official, the Chinese warship was initially about 500 yards on the Decatur's port side then moved ahead of the Decatur and cut across the American destroyer's bow.

"The Chinese vessel took quick action and made checks against the US vessel in accordance with the law, and warned it to leave the waters", spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.

Sunday's incident took place at a tenth that range, making it one of the most unsafe incidents between usa and Chinese warships since tensions began building in the South China Sea.

The USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer was conducting what the military calls a "freedom of navigation operation" Sunday, when it passed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the remote Spratly Islands.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have territorial claims to the islands. China's ship forced the U.S. ship to turn, which was the whole point of the interception, to chase the USS Decatur out of what China considers their territorial waters.

The Chinese military has also repeatedly issued warnings to United States and other foreign aircraft that venture to close to its territorial holdings in the region, many of which have been armed with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, among other weapons systems.

The USS Decatur, a guided-missile destroyer, was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in in the South China Sea, a USA defense official told Fox News in a statement. The Luyang destroyer forced the USS Decatur off course, in an "unsafe and unprofessional manner", the American Navy said.

The military strain between the world's two largest economies has deepened even as they're locked in an increasingly heated trade war.

Gorman said that the USA would "continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows".

Picture courtesy of the US Navy.

Sunday's FONOP also came just days after the USA sent nuclear-capable B-52 bombers through the strategic waterway twice during the past week.

Sunday's incident may signal a new willingness to employ similarly aggressive tactics against USA warships in the South China Sea. USA nuclear-capable B-52 bombers have also increased sorties over China's new sea fortresses from regularly scheduled single plane missions to threatening multi-plane demonstrations.

"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade", Trump said.

"The pendulum has changed dramatically against China since the rejection of the July 2016 PCA decision and militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea", Nagy said.

This incident comes amid increasing tension between China and the US.


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