China Upbeat on US Trade Talks, But S. China Sea Tensions Weigh

Elias Hubbard
February 12, 2019

The same day the latest talks began, two USA warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, a US official told Reuters.

"We, of course, hope, and the people of the world want to see, a good result", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news briefing in Beijing.

"The relevant actions of the USA warships violated Chinese sovereignty, and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday, South China Morning Post reported.

The spokesperson also demanded the US stop what she called its "provocative actions", adding her country will take necessary actions to protect state sovereignty.

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

The US Navy sent two guided-missile destroyers to challenge China in the South China Sea, and Beijing is outraged.

Monday's operation was carried out "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy's 7th Fleet, said. Other regional nations-such as the Philippines and Vietnam-lay claim to part of the waterway and the USA routinely pushes back against China by sending ships to patrol the sea.

China's foreign ministry expressed anger on Monday after the warships sailed in the disputed South China Sea. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands.

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.

China says the construction is necessary for defence, and it was the United States that was responsible for tensions by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.

During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the U.S. warship, forcing it to maneuver to avoid a collision.

The United States is expected to keep pressing China on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies' intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.

The two countries are also at odds over regional security, including Washington's overtures to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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