U.S. dares China, takes naval warships to Chinese waters without permission

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The reef is part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which is the scene of rival claims between China and neighboring countries.

A war of words between the USA and North Korea reached unprecedented new levels this...

Tensions between Washington and Beijing over how to thwart North Korea's nuclear ambitions rose as the USA sent a navy destroyer into waters claimed by China.

The dispute over the McCain revolves around China's claim of sovereignty to the Spratlys, one of many quarrels in the contentious region. The operation on Thursday punctuated that stance.

The so-called "freedom of navigation" mission involved the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer sailing within the 12-mile range of an artificial island reclaimed by China, Reuters reported, citing United States officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

China has recently installed rocket launchers on a disputed island in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in order to fend off Vietnam's claims, according to a report.

MALACAÑANG said Friday that Southeast Asian bloc should tackle China's continued land reclamation and militarization activities in the disputed South China Sea, if reports are proven to be "accurate". China has used dredged sand to expand the original reef into an artificial island big enough to hold an airstrip.

China has been ambiguous about its precise territorial claims around such artificial islands.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out that that the so-called USA "freedom of navigation" mission was carried out without authorization from Beijing, with has "indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratley) and its surrounding waters".

Cayetano had even wanted to exclude any mention of China's land reclamation activities and militarization in a joint communiqué of ASEAN foreign ministers during their meeting in Manila last week.

"China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the USA side", the ministry said in a statement. China considered this a large concession to the US, the Guardian said.

Geng said, "China has the firm determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests". It added that USA moves "to pick quarrels and make troubles under the banner of "freedom of navigation" endangered lives and harmed regional stability.

The photos, with August 5, 2017 being the most recent release, showed infrastructure and land reclamation in the Tree Island and the North Island.

"They called and said 'Please turn around, you are in our waters, '" the newspaper's source said.

The US' fonop comes at a time when tensions are running high in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Vietnam is unlikely to take a role as active as Aquino", Xue said, referring to former Philippine president Benigno Aquino who took the South China Sea case to an global tribunal.

"McCain" illegally entered the waters near the reef and conducted a so-called "freedom of navigation operation" on Thursday without permission of the Chinese government, Xinhua quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang as saying. Nicole Schwegman said all Navy operations "are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

In this regard, Geng remarked that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) country members are focusing on strengthening cooperation to further the comprehensive and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and jointly develop regional standards.

But the United States has snubbed that claim by sailing ships through the huge waterway.

North Island of the Paracel Islands, November 11, 2016. To China's dismay, Vietnam also pushed Asean to express concern about "extended construction" in the area.

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