China protests United States warship approaching Meiji reef

North Korea war

North Korea war

His comments came amidst reports from Washington that a US Navy destroyer carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" yesterday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement that the USS John S. McCain had violated Chinese and worldwide law, undermined Chinese sovereignty and security, and endangered the safety of frontline personnel.

It was the third "freedom of navigation operation" or "fonop" conducted during Trump's presidency.

The show of United States force came as the Trump administration upped the pressure on China to bring Pyongyang to heel, just hours after North Korea threatened to target a United States military base on the Pacific island of Guam.

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Experts and officials have criticised President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognised a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping.

Earlier Thursday, American warship USS John S. McCain sailed within a 12-mile range of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea, US officials told the media.

The South China Sea is filled with small islands, reefs and shoals and there are many territorial disputes between countries in the area.

If all-out war does break out between the USA and the hermit state, long-time Kim Jong-un ally China will be forced to pick sides.

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"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". 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".

AMTI also monitored Vietnam's activities in the Spratlys Islands, "including dredging and reclamation work at several islets".

The United States, Australia and Japan have promised to continue "freedom of navigation" operations in the South China Sea and called on Beijing to endorse a legally binding code of conduct over the disputed region. "This clearly shows who does not want a stable South China Sea and who is the major force driving the militarization in these waters", the ministry spokesperson said. It is also believed to be rich in natural resources, including oil.

The Trump administration is dependent on Beijing to rein in the belligerent North Korea and have been pressing China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on the Kim Jong-un regime to prevent tensions from escalating further in the Korean peninsula. An estimated $5 trillion in annual trade passes through the waterway.

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