China: US war­ship sail­ing near reef may dis­rupt ne­go­ti­a­tions

New Straits Times - - World -

BEI­JING: China yes­ter­day warned that the United States risked se­verely dis­rupt­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween stake­hold­ers in the South China Sea af­ter a US Navy war­ship sailed within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of an ar­ti­fi­cial is­land built up by China in the dis­puted waters.

Speak­ing at a regular news brief­ing here, For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said China urged the US to cor­rect its mis­take and re­frain from fur­ther pa­trols, adding that such ac­tions were very likely to cause un­ex­pected air and sea ac­ci­dents.

US of­fi­cials, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the USS Dewey passed close to the Mis­chief Reef in the Spratly Is­lands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with its neigh­bours.

Speak­ing at a monthly news brief­ing here, De­fence Min­istry spokesman Ren Guo­qiang said China had lodged stern rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the US over the pa­trol and that such moves were not con­ducive to peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea.

US of­fi­cials said the war­ship sailed on a “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion op­er­a­tion”. Reuters

PIX REUTERS

USS ‘Dewey’ sail­ing in the South China Sea near Mis­chief Reef (in­set) re­cently.

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