A US Navy destroyer came within twelve nautical miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, Reuters reported even as tensions between US and North Korea continued to grab world headlines.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S. McCain traveled close toMischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals.
The head of China's air force has blasted a Japanese Defense Ministry white paper critical of Chinese military drills in and over waters near Japan, saying "the Sea of Japan is not Japan's sea".
When North Korea again raised the stakes this week by claiming that it was ready to launch a nuclear attack on Guam, which is controlled by the U.S., Beijing's silence was notable.
Chinese navy guided missile frigates "took immediate action to identify and verify the United States ship, and warned and dispelled it", the Defense Ministry said.
Beijing managed not only to deflect criticism of its aggressive behavior in the adjacent waters of the South China Sea, but also to reshape ASEAN's regional agenda in its own image.
In a statement in Beijing, Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Gen Shuang called upon the US administration to refrain from any further action detrimental to the China-US mutual trust and regional stability.
The destroyer passed within 12 nautical miles of both land features, according to Reuters, in a "freedom of navigation operation" or FONOP, whereby the United States shows China it doesn't respect its maritime claims in the South China Sea.
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And with China putting pressure on Singapore to downplay the South China Sea issue, Storey said the city state would have its work cut out trying to keep everyone happy.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and is now building multiple artificial islands there to control the area, which more than half of the world's annual cargo fleet passes through.
In the latest sail-by, USA military officials notified Philippine counterparts of the maneuver, a Philippine official said, adding that Philippine forces were not involved.
The Philippine government does not see anything wrong with the United States' latest freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea.
Vietnam also called on ASEAN to advocate a "legally-binding" Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that would place severe constraints on Chinese activity.
In the wake of the ruling, U.S. businesses in China like KFC and Apple found themselves targeted by angry protestors.
The U.S.is not involved in the long-seething disputes in the busy and potentially oil- and gas-rich waters involving China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. US officials say the military will continue to sail, fly and operate wherever permitted by worldwide law.
However, President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen to tread softly on the territorial dispute and refused to invoke the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that recognized the Philippines' claims over China's.