United States warships again challenge Beijing's claims in South China Sea

United States warships again challenge Beijing's claims in South China Sea

If the sides can not reach an agreement by March 1, when a 90-day tariffs truce ends, the Trump administration has said it will raise tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that one preliminary proposal being discussed was for the two leaders to meet on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, around the time of the annual Boao Forum for Asia, which will take place from March 26 to 29.

Beijing accused the USA of entering Chinese waters without permission and engaging in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty.

The two warships entered China's territorial seas around the Nansha Islands without permission from the Chinese government, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

Well Mark... the USS Spruance and USS Preble conducted what the U.S. Navy called a freedom of navigation operation within 22 kilometers of the Spratly Islands on Monday.

The goal was "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways", as well as to show that the U.S. "will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows", Cmdr.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, as do several of its neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

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China's foreign ministry issued an angry response.

The U.S. and China had set a deadline of March 1 for an agreement on trade between the world's two largest economies. The deployment is seen as the latest attempt by Washington to stand up to what it believes are attempts by Beijing to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and other Southeast Asian navies operate. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

"There's been sort of a steady increase", Admiral John Richardson, the US Chief of Naval Operations, told reporters earlier this month when asked about China's militarization of the area.

Top US officials have attacked China for everything from human rights abuses to cyber espionage in America. China has built and militarized artificial islands in the sea in a bid to maintain its control.

China says the construction is necessary for defence, and it was the U.S. that was responsible for tensions by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims. Other regional nations-such as the Philippines and Vietnam-lay claim to part of the waterway and the USA routinely pushes back against China by sending ships to patrol the sea.

The two countries are also at odds over regional security, including Washington's overtures to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

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