dglobalnews.com China's land reclamation continues in disputed sea, U.S. think tank says
Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

China's land reclamation continues in disputed sea, U.S. think tank says

China's land reclamation continues in disputed sea, U.S. think tank says

A US Navy official told The Associated Press that the destroyer USS John S. McCain sailed past Mischief Reef on Thursday.

Geng said the Chinese navy "identified the US warship, warned and expelled it".

The U.S. and North Korea have been exchanging threats over North Korea's missile program.

The so-called "freedom of navigation" mission involved the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer sailing within the 12-mile range of an artificial island reclaimed by China.

In a statement published on the official website of China's Ministry of National Defence, Senior Colonel Wu said the section on China in the annual Defence White Paper is full of lies and stereotypes. "But China's own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys", the think tank said on its website.

Beijing upbraided the United States for the Thursday's operation - the third reported under the Trump administration.

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The Foreign Ministry pointed out that that the so-called U.S. "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 reports, he said, have to be scrutinized for accuracy in order to preserve the interest of the claimant nations, such as between Vietnam and China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement.

"We urge the Japanese side to draw lessons from history, stick to the path of peaceful development and act with caution in military and security fields", Mr Geng said, asking Japan to do more to help enhance mutual trust in politics and security between the two countries, instead of doing the opposite.

Although China opposes inclusion of the sea disputes in global conferences, partly to prevent the U.S. and other Western governments from intervening, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan's new top diplomat, Taro Kono, expressed concern over aggressive actions in the waters. "This clearly shows who does not want a stable South China Sea and who is the major force driving the militarisation in these waters", Geng said.

But analysts feel the opening of the first Chinese military base overseas was in tune with PLAN's ambitions to expand its global reach amidst China's growing economic and political footprint.

A leading United States think tank, meanwhile, released a new report documenting what it said was continuing reclamation work on Chinese-controlled islands in the area despite a recent claim by China's foreign minister that such work had stopped two years ago. China said in July that its navy had the right to pass though a strait linking it with the Pacific Ocean, after one of its warships entered the area.

The Joint Communiqué reflects the consensus of the ministers on issues concerning ASEAN, wherein Vietnam and the Philippines are member states.

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