Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

United States lauds ASEAN stand on sea row despite 'tremendous pressure'

United States lauds ASEAN stand on sea row despite 'tremendous pressure'

China said it was "displeased" after a U.S. warship sailed close to one of its artificial islands in the South China Sea as part of a "freedom of navigation" operation.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John McCain (DDG-56) sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Island chain, according to Fox News.

"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and worldwide laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement.

"China is resolutely opposed to this kind of show of force and pushing of regional militarization by the US that may easily cause an unexpected incident at sea or in the air", China's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Malacañang said on Friday, August 11, thatthe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should tackle the photos of China's land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea taken after 2015.

US, Japan, and Australia have denounced China's island building and militarization of the South China Sea.

The Spratly islands are claimed or partly occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei.

China scolded the United States after the USS John S. McCain sailed near disputed reefs in the South China Sea on Thursday.

McCain "traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals", Reuters reported.

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

The US supports neither nation's claims and insists that the sea should be a neutral space available for free navigation.

China has constructed airstrips and hangars and protected harbors for the air and naval units in the Paracel Islands.

U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr.

China rejects claims made by US President Donald Trump that it is not doing enough to pressure Pyongyang to halt its rocket development. "All operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever global law allows".

"We told them we are a usa (ship) conducting routine operations in worldwide waters", the official added.

In the previous administration, the Philippines was among the major voices in the regional bloc calling for stronger wording in ASEAN statements against China and its aggression in the South China Sea.

"The communique also emphasized the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, such as the July 2016 decision of the tribunal, which is binding on China and the Philippines as provided in - and I want to just get the language right, so bear with me here - as is provided in the Law of the Sea Convention", Nauert said in a media briefing in Washington Wednesday.

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