China: US warship sailing near reef may disrupt negotiations
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
USS ‘Dewey’ sailing in the South China Sea near Mischief Reef (inset) recently.