Published On: Thu, Aug 29th, 2019

South China Sea: Beijing’s warning to ‘provocative’ US warship near territorial waters | World | News

Beijing urged Washington to end its “provocative” naval operations in the hotly disputed territory, adding US President Donald Trump was violating China’s sovereignty in allowing vessels within proximity of the area. The People’s Liberation Army issued a statement after closely watching the USS Wayne E. Meyer guided missile destroyer, which sailed in the region yesterday sparking anger from China, Bloomberg reports. Senior Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesman for the southern command, said: “Facts have proven that the so-called ‘freedom of navigation’ of the United States is essentially a hegemony that ignores the rules of international law, seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, and seriously undermines the stability of the South China Sea region.”

The vessel sailed within 12 nautical miles of both Fiery Cross and Mischief Reefs “in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law”, Washington said.

The two reefs have been highly militarised by China in a move condemned by Asian and Western nations alike.

The US said it regularly conducts such missions, with the most recent being a freedom of navigation operation.

A USS Navy spokesman added that the Indo-Pacific mission was “not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements”.

US Navy Commander Reann Mommsen told CNN yesterday: “The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

The US and China have an extremely tense relationship. 

This is due to a number of issues.

The first is the multi-billion dollar trade war each side is embroiled in and has been since late last year.

READ NOW: South China Sea: US warship sails dangerously close to disputed area

Should conflict break out between the two power nations in the Indo-Pacific waters, it is widely expected China’s arsenal of weaponry would see them win.

In a report called “Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific”, the document claims “America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain”.

The report warns that although Donald Trump’s military is still an amicable force in the waters, the “combined effect of ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda has left the US armed forces ill-prepared for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific”.

The same report also warns that China would be able to use the US lack of reach to launch a colossal military attack against President Trump’s regional allies.

The report said: “Having studied the American way of war — premised on power projection and all-domain military dominance — China has deployed a formidable array of precision missiles and other counter-intervention systems to undercut America’s military primacy.

“By making it difficult for US forces to operate within range of these weapons, Beijing could quickly use limited force to achieve a fait accomplishing victory — particularly around Taiwan, the Japanese archipelago or maritime Southeast Asia — before America can respond, sowing doubt about Washington’s security guarantees in the process.”

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