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Chinese Fighter Jets, Ships Warn Off US Warship Sailing Near South China Sea Island

3 months ago

China’s military vowed Monday to step up air and sea patrols after an American warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea in what Beijing called a “serious political and military provocation.” The spat is the latest in a series of disputes that have roiled the U.S.-China relationship in just the past few days. Experts said Washington appeared to be signaling its growing frustration with Beijing by rolling out measures including arms sales to Taiwan and sanctions against a Chinese bank doing business with North Korea. On Sunday, the USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, a U.S. defense official said. The small isle in the Paracel Islands chain is claimed and controlled by China. It was the second such U.S. operation near Chinese-controlled islands in six weeks. U.S. officials tried to portray the latest patrol as a routine, planned maneuver, but whatever their intentions, it has created more friction between the two countries. China’s Defense Ministry said its armed forces had dispatched two frigates, a minesweeper and two fighter jets to warn the Stethem away. The Paracels are among a group of islands and atolls in the South China Sea at the heart of ongoing tensions in Southeast Asia. China claims full sovereignty over the sea and has built military facilities on some islands. China’s Defense Ministry said the United States has “seriously damaged strategic mutual trust” between the two countries by entering what it claimed were China’s territorial waters, while the country’s Foreign Ministry accused the United States of staging a “serious political and military provocation.” Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-accuses-us-of-serious-provocation-as-warship-sails-near-disputed-island/2017/07/02/9ce7b026-5f93-11e7-a6c7-f769fa1d5691_story.html?utm_term=.adc6f24a5b6c

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