Thursday, 23 November, 2017

'Provocative operations': US Navy sends warship into South China Sea

'Provocative operations': US Navy sends warship into South China Sea 'Provocative operations': US Navy sends warship into South China Sea
Lance Thomas | 03 July, 2017, 00:55

The island is one of the Paracel Islands located in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam, which Beijing has claimed.

The standard worldwide boundary extending offshore from all nations is 12 nautical miles. In a Twitter message on June 20, Trump said that while he appreciated the efforts of Xi and China to help out with North Korea, "it has not worked out".

The Xisha Islands are an inherent part of the Chinese territory, Lu said, noting that in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996.

Sunday's exercise comes days after the Trump administration made a number of moves that appeared to irk Beijing, including sanctions against Chinese entities doing business with North Korea and the approval of a new arms sale to Taiwan.

"The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows", he told USA Today.

China has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

The initiative also says China has recently expanded its facilities on Triton Island to include the construction of a helipad.

Two defense officials told the network that the USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, which is the global maritime border as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The U.S. does not recognize Beijing's claim of sovereignty over the islands, which it has occupied and on which it has been building fortifications.

By sailing within 12 miles of the island, the US conducted what is called a Freedom of Navigation Operation. During then-Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson's confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, he suggested that the USA should use military force to restrict China's access to the islands.

Tokyo does not have any claims in the waters, but is embroiled in a separate dispute with Beijing in the East China Sea over the Senkaku Islands, which are known as the Diaoyus in China.

Showing satellite images, AMTI said Beijing has constructed new missile shelters and communications facilities on Fiery Cross (or Kagitingan, as named by the Philippines), Mischief (Panganiban), and Subi (Zamora) Reefs.

Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, AMTI had said in a previous report.

"Conducting these types of operations with our allies builds proficiency and sustains our ability to maintain a persistent presence throughout the 7th Fleet area of operations", Command Senior Chief William Palmer IV said at the time.

China also sent its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and its accompanying ships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday for its first port call to Hong Kong.

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