U.S. destroyer challenges China's claims in South China Sea

Vietnam 'may tilt towards US' in regional power play with China

Vietnam 'may tilt towards US' in regional power play with China

THE Philippine government sees nothing "objectionable" with a USA destroyer sailing near China's man-made islands in the South China Sea, a Palace official said on Friday.

The operation was illegal and carried out without permission from Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out that that the so-called United States "freedom of navigation" mission was carried out without authorization from Beijing, with has "indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratley) and its surrounding waters". The operation came as President Donald Trump's administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.

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.

It's true in the South China Sea.

"China is resolutely opposed to this kind of show of force and pushing of regional militarisation by the USA that may easily cause an unexpected incident at sea or in the air", it said.

According to the Chinese Defense, Chinese navy guided missile frigates "took immediate action to identify and verify the USA ship, and warned and dispelled it".

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

The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with global law.

Amti released satellite photos dated August 5 showing reclamation work on Tree Island and North Island in the Paracel Islands, which are disputed by Vietnam and China.

"The South China Sea doesn't only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilising. They (China) are not reclaiming land anymore, so why will you put it again here?" 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".

"The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs surrounded by rich fishing grounds - and potentially by gas and oil deposits", the CIA World Factbook said.

Geng said China "has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratly) and their adjacent waters", and called for a dialogue between Beijing and the governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries to solve the maritime dispute.

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