US war­ship sails in S. China Sea amid trade ten­sions

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - TIT BITS | TOP STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD -

REUTERS, 20TH MAY, 2019

The U.S. mil­i­tary said one of its war­ships sailed near the dis­puted Scar­bor­ough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sun­day, an­ger­ing Bei­jing at a time of tense ties be­tween the world’s two big­gest economies.

The busy wa­ter­way is one of a grow­ing num­ber of flash­points in the U.s.-china re­la­tion­ship, which in­clude a trade war, U.S. sanc­tions and Tai­wan.

China struck a more ag­gres­sive tone in its trade war with the United States on Fri­day.

The tough talk capped a week that saw China un­veil new re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs in re­sponse to a U.S. de­ci­sion to raise its levies on $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese im­ports to 25% from 10%.

The U.S. de­stroyer Pre­ble car­ried out the op­er­a­tion, a U.S. mil­i­tary spokesman told Reuters.

“Pre­ble sailed within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of Scar­bor­ough Reef in order to chal­lenge ex­ces­sive mar­itime claims and pre­serve ac­cess to the wa­ter­ways as gov­erned by in­ter­na­tional law,” said Com­man­der Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Sev­enth Fleet.

Speak­ing in Bei­jing, Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said the ship had en­tered wa­ters near the shoal with­out China’s per­mis­sion, and the Chi­nese navy had warned it to leave.

“I must stress once again that the U.S. war­ship’s rel­e­vant ac­tions have vi­o­lated China’s sovereignt­y and un­der­mined the peace, se­cu­rity and good order in the rel­e­vant sea ar­eas. China is firmly op­posed to this,” Lu told a daily news brief­ing.

The United States was try­ing to dis­turb re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity by us­ing the is­sue of free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and flight, he added.

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