China trade talks resume

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

The move angered Beijing at a time when the United States and China ton are locked in a trade war and are negotiating a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $ 200 billion worth of Chinese imports are expected to increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

Aerial view on the The Spratly Islands, one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea.

Beijing has voiced its "strong dissatisfaction" with the United States on Monday after two USA warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.

Officials including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing for another round of talks with Chinese officials including Vice Premier Liu He.

The same day the latest talks began, two US warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, a USA official told Reuters.

The FONOP involved the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble, which patrolled through the area to "challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", as U.S. Navy 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr.

Washington has hit back in the past, claiming it is countering Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building army installations on artificial reefs and islands.

Communist superpower China claims ownership over nearly all of the South China Sea - frequently slamming the United States and its allies for naval operations in the territory.

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Monday's operation was the second in the South China Sea reported by the US Navy this year.

The operation was carried out "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", Cmdr. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan have competing claims in the region.

Doss added: "We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future".

China's foreign ministry issued an angry response. In late September, the USS Decatur also sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands as part of a similar freedom of navigation operation.

It comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and China over an ongoing trade war.

The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships near South China Sea islands and reefs claimed by Beijing to signal their right under worldwide law to pass through the waters, invariably angering China.

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