US Warship Sails Near Man-Made Chinese Island in South China Sea

US destroyer challenges Beijing's claims in South China Sea

Anonymous US officials told Reuters that the destroyer USS John S. McCain sailed close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, where China has a territorial dispute with its neighbours.

It comes amid soaring tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang's missile program, and as the United States seeks to push China into more assertively restraining North Korea.

The South China Morning Post ran an editorial in late July denouncing USA freedom of navigation patrols as "ineffective" because they don't seem to have influenced Beijing's behavior at all, and yet also "risky" because they might push Beijing too far. It's the third mission to challenge China's claim on the territory under the Trump administration.

"The US is the trouble maker in the South China Sea and has undermined regional stability", declared Zhang Junshe of the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute.

The Philippine military is thought to have monitored the freedom of navigation operation from a marine base located in a marooned ship on a nearby shoal, which sounds like one of the less appealing postings a Filipino marine could draw.

China rejects claims made by US President Donald Trump that it is not doing enough to pressure Pyongyang to halt its rocket development.

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Washington is dependent on Beijing to rein in the belligerent North Korea. And the point of that is to demonstrate that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows. It is also believed to be rich in natural resources, including oil.

Responding to the so-called incursion, China's foreign ministry said it "severely harmed China's sovereignty and security".

The Defense Ministry said USA and Chinese military relations are generally "stable" but said such actions foster mistrust between the nations.

The ministry stressed in the statement that the provocative actions of the U.S. armed forces would only push the Chinese army to increasing its defense capability in order to ensure sovereignty and safety. "However, such provocative actions of the United States significantly hinder bilateral strategic trust, and also create difficulties and obstacles for enhancing relations between the armed forces of the two countries", the statement read.

"China urges the United States to earnestly respect Chinese sovereignty and security interests as well as the joint effort by countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea", the ministry said.

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