US Navy warships sail close to militarized South China Sea

The US Navy been blasted for sailing into disputed waters

The ministry said the Chinese military issued warnings to guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and the USS Higgins to leave the waters after they "arbitrarily entered" the contested Paracel Islands in the waterway "without permission of the Chinese government".

Several US officials who declined to be named said the two US warships came within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands, maneuvering near Tree, Lincoln, Triton and Woody islands in the operations.

The ministry said the course plotted by the vessels had "seriously infringed upon Chinese sovereignty" and "contravened Chinese and relevant worldwide law", as they had entered territorial waters without permission.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

The U.S. warships were carrying out "freedom of navigation" operations, also called FONOPS, which the Navy says are a means to challenge excessive maritime claims and uphold rights to use of the sea under global law.

The Pentagon withdrew its invitation for China to participate in a multinational naval exercise the U.S.is hosting this summer, in what it called "an initial response" to China's militarization of the South China Sea.

These operations "are not about one country", he said, "nor are they about making political statements".

An aerial view of Woody Island in the Paracels
REUTERS An aerial view of Woody Island in the Paracels

FONOPS are regularly conducted in disputed seas throughout the world.

The move signals U.S. rejection of China's claims of political control in the South China Sea.

A US Navy soldier stands aboard the USS Higgins destroyer.

Satellite photographs taken on May 12 showed China appeared to have deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missiles at Woody Island.

"China's continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region", a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, said.

China's military took "immediate action" on Sunday against "unauthorized" sailing by United States warships in South China Sea waters claimed by Beijing.

Its neighbours, particularly some of those involved in maritime disputes over the waters, have expressed fears China could eventually restrict freedom of navigation and overflight.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

'Solo' sputters in takeoff at box office with US$83.3M
Our review of Solo describes the movie as "uninspired and visually boring ", albeit with intriguing potential for a sequel. But in that instance, it went from releasing an origin story followed by an established Avengers movie.

Trump not backing down on 'spy' allegations
On Thursday, two meetings were held with lawmakers to resolve issues around the documents. Nunes and Gowdy left about an hour later without speaking to reporters.

US Gulf Coast braces for Alberto battering
Tropical storm warnings and watches have been issued for parts of the MS coast all the way to the western Gulf Coast of Florida. It is showing signs of transitioning to something more tropical as deeper convection has developed near the center.

Trump Tells Naval Academy Graduates: 'We're Respected Again'
The president said in a statement that it was a "great honor and pleasure" to deliver remarks to the academy's Class of 2018 today.

Ivanka Trump Defends Serena Williams After French Open Snub
Williams took 14 months off from the WTA Tour after winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant. When the draw was announced Thursday, it appeared that Williams caught something of a break.

Chris Paul: 'I Will Be Alright'
Despite the Warriors feeling good about their chances moving forward, Kerr acknowledged this is a bit of uncharted territory. He said the soreness diminished significantly between Games 3 and 4.

The NFL's Crackdown on Player Protests
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin , speaking after a team practice on Thursday, called Trump "an idiot, plain and simple". Vice President Mike Pence called it "a win for the fans, a win for (the president), and a win for America".

Richie Incognito placed on involuntary psychiatric hold in Florida
The Bills gave him another chance and he had three good seasons for them, but then he had a truly freaky offseason. TMZ is reporting the alleged victim is claiming Incognito threw a tennis ball and a dumbbell at him.

Klopp: We are here because we are Liverpool, so let's try it
I really believe in using your own strength and then adapt to whatever your opponent is asking of you. That is normal, but in the game shoot, strike, cross, make headers, bicycle kicks if you want.

M&S says annual profits tumble on restructuring
Marks and Spencer (M&S) has revealed steep falls in annual sales and profits, hours after accelerating its store closure programme .

Iran Threatens to Punch Mike Pompeo in the Mouth
Iran's uprising undeniably showcased unprecedented public expressions of desire for regime change . Other nations have agreed that Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

Google shares more info on YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium subscriptions
YouTube plans to charge $2 more for its premium service, as it includes YouTube Music service along with its original shows. The company is also replacing its YouTube Red premium video service with a new, all-encompassing YouTube Premium .

Brent oil surges above US$80 for first time since 2014
Global inventories of crude and fuel have dropped sharply in recent months owing to robust demand and Opec-led production cuts. In addition, the IEA has cut its oil consumption forecasts as higher prices work to reduce future demand.

Trailers for 'The Neighborhood,' 'Magnum PI' and more new CBS series
Executive producer Dick Wolf's new crime drama is set in NY and stars Jeremy Sisto, Zeeko Zaki, Missy Peregrym and Connie Nielsen. CBS has officially revealed its TV lineup for fall 2018 , its first in years that will not feature Thursday Night Football.

Ubisoft teases new Villa map and hologram-based operator, Alibi
A weekend might not seem like enough time to get into a game like Rainbow Six , but fortunately, Ubisoft's weekends start early. Ubisoft say they want to "offer a competitive showdown" with the villa, and there's a diverse set of locations to do battle in.

Other news