US Navy ship sails near South China Sea reef claimed by Beijing

US Navy ship sails near South China Sea reef claimed by Beijing

US Navy ship sails near South China Sea reef claimed by Beijing

I asked the Pentagon for details about the operation, and specifically whether it was a "routine" non-innocent passage that would not implicitly recognize Chinese territorial claims.

The US regularly undertook freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea under former US President Barack Obama.

A bipartisan group of USA senators earlier this month urged Trump to resume freedom of navigation operations that had last been conducted in October.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey entered the area "without permission from the Chinese government", Lu said, adding that the ship had "trespassed in the waters near the relevant islands and reefs".

Surprising to many, and frustrating to some, the Trump administration has been largely silent on the South China Sea issue since taking the White House in January of 2017. But analysts say it's far from enough to alleviate concerns among United States allies that the White House is unwilling to confront China on the issue - or diminish Beijing's efforts to expand its influence in the region.

China said its warships had warned the USA ship and it lodged "stern representations" with the United States.

He said the support of allies in the region, especially Australia and Japan, would be significant in offsetting China's coercion in the region.

"China expresses strong protest and has already made representation to the United States side in connection with such a demonstration of military force, boost to the militarization of the region and actions that can easily lead to incidents at sea and in the air", ministry's representative Ren Guoqiang said. "It's built what it wanted to build". It includes consultations and representation by American diplomats and operational activities by the U.S. military forces.

Speaking at a news briefing in Beijing, acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton, a senior US State Department official, on Friday (26 May) reiterated that Washington's policy on the South China Sea has not changed under Trump.

The meeting was attended by ASEAN nations with claims in the region - the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

In 1947, China outlined its claim to the disputed waterway by drawing a map with a U-shaped line covering nearly 70 percent of the South China Sea. China has ignored the ruling.

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One of Trump's ships, the USS Dewey, strayed dangerously close to China's military bases in the South China sea. "Any outside noise should be drowned out". Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong, arguably the most powerful man in Vietnam, was in Beijing days before Mr Trump's inauguration.

However, there were suggestions that the Trump administration was putting them off to avoid antagonising China. MOD spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian said such spying activities of US military aircraft and vessels were the "fundamental causes" of problems in security issues between the two countries. "We fly, sail, and operate wherever global law allows", Pentagon spokesperson, Capt. Jeff Davis, told CNN confirming the operation.

The patrol was "conducted in full accordance with worldwide law" and was "a normal and routine operation", Carter told lawmakers in January 2016.

The Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements, he said.

Previous freedom of navigation operations have gone within 12 nautical miles of Subi and Fiery Cross reefs, two other features in the Spratlys built up by China, but both of those features are entitled to a territorial sea.

China denies these claims, countering that the USA is eager to stoke tensions in the region. Regional dynamics are already shifting, such as Mr. Duterte's pivot toward China while distancing the Philippines from the U.S., a longtime ally.

But a former senior United States official said Mr Trump could be expected to complain to Vietnam's prime minister about the size of its trade surplus.

"We urge the USA side to take concrete efforts to correct its wrongdoings and add more positive energy to the military-to-military relationship", Ren said.

"It doesn't mean we are going to change our military presence or our security commitments in the region", she said.

"This is a balancing act countries in Southeast Asia have been walking for a long time", Ms. Ma says.

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