China protests U.S. ship near South China Sea island

US destroyer in South China Sea called'provocation by Beijing

The spokesperson said China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters and the recent acts of the United States warships violated global law.

Opening its strategic South Sea Fleet base in the coastal city of Zhanjiang to a group of Indian journalists for the first time, People's Liberation Army Navy officials say the Indian Ocean is a "common place" for the worldwide community.

China's foreign ministry said a U.S. navy destroyer that carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" on Thursday in the South China Sea had violated worldwide and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security.

The United States, Australia and Japan have promised to continue "freedom of navigation" operations in the South China Sea and called on Beijing to endorse a legally binding code of conduct over the disputed region.

Mabini (Johnson) Reef part of the disputed islands China has built up in the South China Sea.

The SSF is also responsible for keeping an eye on the resource-rich South China Sea where China is having maritime disputes with countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.

Experts and officials have criticised President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognised a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping.

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Beijing has also urged Washington to respect "the joint efforts of the regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea".

China, which claims the South China Sea virtually in entirety, has protested such repeated US military operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial rifts with Beijing.

Washington's critical actions came as it courts the help of China, North Korea's most important economic partner, in taming Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions and ending its missile tests.

It adds that on Sunday, China scored a coup when ASEAN ministers issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to its terms on talks at the Manila meeting.

The US says it supports none of the nations' claims in the area and insists that the sea should be a neutral space available for free navigation.

The archipelago is claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines.

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. Since 1985 Brunei has claimed a continental shelf that overlaps a southern reef but has not made any formal claim to the reef.

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