United States dares China, takes naval warships to Chinese waters without permission

The USS John Mc Cain destroyer in the Asia Pacific region

A maritime dispute in the South China Sea flared up on Thursday when a U.S. destroyer sailed near man-made island claimed by China, a move Beijing labeled a "provocation" and the United States called appropriate under global law.

A US Navy official told The Associated Press that the destroyer USS John S. McCain sailed past Mischief Reef on Thursday.

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

The operation in the contested waters comes as President Donald Trump's administration seeks Chinese co-operation in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.

They sought compliance with an arbitration ruling a year ago that invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea.

The CSIS report said 64 per cent of China's maritime trade passed through the sea, compared to 14 per cent of USA maritime trade.

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In a statement published on the official website of China's Ministry of National Defence, Senior Colonel Wu said the section on China in the annual Defence White Paper is full of lies and stereotypes.

Amti released satellite photos dated August 5 showing reclamation work on Tree Island and North Island in the Paracel Islands, which are disputed by Vietnam and China.

Chinese navy guided missile frigates "took immediate action to identify and verify the USA ship, and warned and dispelled it", the Defense Ministry said.

"Sinabi nila na walang additional reclamation, wala na silang pupuntahang reefs and shoals na ire-reclaim nila at gagawin nilang island".

A U.S. defense official said the plan was for the destroyer to sail within 6 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of the artificial islands built by China in the Spratlys.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said: "We're not the spokesman for the Chinese ... we state our own position".

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"Since then, China has undertaken additional reclamation on the southern end of North island and built a retaining wall around the seven acres of new land to prevent further erosion".

The US has criticised China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea.

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations.

China occupies 20 outposts in the chain and improvements include the addition of harbors, helipads, an airstrip, hangars and a surface-to-air missile battery, the report said.

The US is not a party to the disputes in the busy and potentially oil- and gas-rich waters that also involve Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The new development comes amid Washington's attempts to get Beijing on board for more worldwide pressure on North Korea over its development of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. Around £3.85 trillion of ship-borne trade passes through the area every year.

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