Published: Tue, May 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

China slams USA again over naval maneuvers in South China Sea

China slams USA again over naval maneuvers in South China Sea

The Philippines and China have always been involved in a maritime dispute, and Beijing even refused to recognize a ruling from a United Nations-backed arbitral court that invalidated its economic claim to around 90 percent of resource-rich South China Sea.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble on Monday sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal to "challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by worldwide law", said 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley.

Sunday's incident marks the second such U.S. intrusion into the South China Sea this month.

Speaking at an worldwide security conference in Singapore Wednesday, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said "routine" freedom of navigation operations will proceed with transparency, consistency and predictability.

Since late 2018, satellite imagery has shown these fleets-described by the Center for Strategic and International Studies- Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative as "China's most destructive boats"-operating frequently in Scarborough Shoal and throughout the Paracels, including at Bombay Reef". Clayton Doss, a spokesman for the Navy's Seventh Fleet, in a statement.

Earlier in the month, a USA destroyer had conducted drills with a Japanese aircraft carrier along with two Indian naval ships and a Philippine patrol vessel in the waterways in the South China Sea.

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"We strongly urge the US side to immediately stop such provocative actions so as to not harm China-US relations and the peace and stability of the region", said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a press briefing. USA officials then listed $300 billion more of Chinese goods for possible tariff hikes. A USA military spokesman confirmed United States destroyer Preble carried out the operation.

China claims nearly all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently rails against the United States and its allies over naval operations conducted near Chinese-claimed islands.

Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the sea, including on the Spratly Islands, which Beijing calls Nansha.

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims in the region.

The Preble's journey into the disputed waterway also coincided with bilateral naval drills being held in the South China Sea by the Indian and Singaporean Navies. On Wednesday, the chief of the U.S. Navy said its freedom of navigation movements in the disputed South China Sea drew more attention than they deserved.

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