11:12 GMT +325 February 2018
Listen Live
    Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, photographed by a USN surveillance aircraft in 2015.

    US Navy Patrol in S China Sea Amid Duterte's Visit to Beijing is a 'Provocation'

    © REUTERS/ U.S. Navy/Handout
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    5318

    Chinese authorities have again given warnings to the US Navy after a US destroyer sailed near Xisha/Paracel islands in the South China Sea on Friday. The Chinese defense ministry called the move both “illegal” and “provocative.”

    As part of its efforts to challenge China’s "excessive maritime claims," the USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer sailed near the Paracel Islands, where Beijing has constructed a series of artificial landmasses.

    This was the fourth such operation in the past year and the Decatur was shadowed by three Chinese ships. According to China's Ministry of National Defense, a guided-missile destroyer and a guided-missile frigate were dispatched to identify and expel the US vessel.

    “All Western media have noted that the US maneuver was conducted during Philippines President Duterte's state visit to China in which bilateral relations have been restored with the signing of a series of cooperative agreements,” online newspaper Global Times reported.

    According to the publication this was a provocation by the US, deliberately sending a message to the world that “it doesn't want to see peace in the South China Sea and that it wants waves there. If no one helps it, it will make them itself.”

    The ministry also said the act is clear evidence that the US is the real troublemaker in the South China Sea, at a time when the general situation in the region is seeing a positive development.

    The ministry warns that the Chinese military will reinforce its surveillance and defense power in the region in order to resolutely protect China's national interests.

    “The foreign ministry urges the US Navy to stop actions which go against China's sovereignty and maritime interests,” online newspaper People’s Daily reported.

    The South China Sea is a highly-contested region through which roughly $5 trillion in international trade passes annually. Most of it is claimed by China, but there are overlapping claims by Brunei, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

    The United States has no claims in the region, but it has pressured regional allies to help stymie China’s growth.

    Recently, however, the Philippines have begun to move away from its partnership with the US. Newly-elected President Rodrigo Duterte has taken steps to become closer with China.

    Related:

    White House Confirms US Navy Patrols South China Sea
    China Warns Australia: ‘Act and Speak Cautiously’ on South China Sea
    Beijing Reportedly Looking Into Mini Nuke Plant to Power South China Sea Islands
    Did the Pentagon Chief Just Reignite South China Sea Tensions?
    South China Sea: Washington 'Lost the Plot and the Pivot' in Southeast Asia
    Tags:
    patrol, destroyer, tensions, provocation, surveillance, Chinese Defense Ministry, US Naval Forces, Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, China
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment