US Navy challenges China's claims in disputed territory

12 August, 2017, 00:13 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • John S. Mc Cain at sea

"Its behaviour has violated the Chinese law and relevant worldwide law, infringed upon China's sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation".

Chinese Foreign Minister also claimed in an interview Monday that China has finished land reclamation over two years ago, and that those bringing up the issue on reclamation are the ones doing it.

The country's Defense Ministry also lambasted the USA move, calling it a "provocative act" that had seriously damaged mutual trust.

The United States has criticised China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

"All operations are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows", he said.

"We are continuing regular FONOPs, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future", he added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned against "outside interference" in the negotiations, and claimed China had finished land reclamation on islands two years ago.

Territorial waters are defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as extending no more than 12 nautical miles from a state's coastline.

In addition to freedom-of-navigation operations, the US has also conducted bomber overflights in the South China Sea.

Japan's Defense White Paper reads that Beijing has been trying to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas based on its own claims, and this has become a common concern for the region and the whole world.

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

The islands are reportedly capable of hosting warplanes, mobile missile launchers and other military assets.

The Joint Communiqué reflects the consensus of the ministers on issues concerning ASEAN, wherein Vietnam and the Philippines are member states.

McCain "traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals", Reuters reported. Beijing has called the moves purely defensive.

AMTI made Tree Island and North Island as examples.

According to August 9 report by AMTI, China's reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys. Hardened shelters with retractable roofs for mobile missile launchers have also been built on the three. That occurred around Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.



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