12 August, 2017
China's foreign ministry says a U.S. navy destroyer that carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" in the South China Sea violated worldwide and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security.
McCain sailed near Mischief Reef in a "freedom of navigation" operation. China has territorial disputes with its neighbours over the area. Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show that the United States does not recognise territorial claims there. The operation on Thursday punctuated that stance.
In July, Beijing expressed its outrage over U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem entering the waters off the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, known in China as the Xisha Islands.
China has rejected the claim, saying the islands serve civilian purposes only.
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 US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and worldwide laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", the ministry said late on Thursday in a statement on its website.
But Nicole Schwegman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that United States forces operated in the Asia Pacific region on a daily basis.
Geng added the Chinese Navy identified the USA warship, warned and expelled it. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement. Beijing said the move was aimed at challenging its "indisputable sovereignty" over the disputed waters.
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was asked at a briefing whether "freedom of navigation" and other issues serve to "make for a more hard campaign on North Korea with China".
The destroyer undertook the'freedom of navigation mission
The Trump administration has vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations.
"They called and said 'Please turn around, you are in our waters, '" the newspaper's source said.
"As you all know, USA forces will operate in the Asia-Pacific region".
The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.
The United States has said that it would like to see more worldwide participation in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. It's true in the South China Sea.
"However, some parties from outside continue to meddle in the region under the guise of free navigation", Geng said.
In a joint statement after a meeting Monday of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Australian and Japanese counterparts, the three officials "expressed serious concerns over maritime disputes in the South China Sea".
Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognised internationally.
Beijing has reclaimed land in massive dredging operations, turning sandbars into islands equipped with airfields, ports and lighthouses.