US Navy destroyer sails near disputed islands in South China Sea

US Navy Destroyer Sails Near Islands Claimed by China in South China Sea

The Paracel archipelago is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while the Spratly Islands are additionally contested by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

China immediately dispatched military vessels and aircraft for identification and warned the USA ship to leave, Hua said.

China's Defense Ministry said on October 11 that a warship, two fighter jets and a helicopter had scrambled to warn the USS Chafee away, adding the vessel had infringed upon China's sovereignty and security with its "provocation".

The USS Chafee, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, did not come within 12 miles of any individual islands - a distance China considers territorial waters - but did enter the "straight baseline" that Beijing claims around the island group, according to the officials.

China would further strengthen its naval and air defenses, the ministry said.

The US "stirs up trouble" and runs "in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development", a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the time.

"China will continue to take resolute measures to protect Chinese sovereign territory and maritime interests".

The destroyer, however, did not violate the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands, according to a Reuters report, citing USA military officials.

A U.S. Navy destroyer reportedly sailed near Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday.

The number of Chinese medical tourists to South Korea declined sharply in the first half of this year, mainly due to the diplomatic row with China over the deployment of a US anti-missile system here, government data showed Wednesday.

Next month, Trump makes his first visit to Asia as president, including a stop in China, which he has been pressuring to do more to rein in North Korea. The warship allegedly carried out a "freedom of navigation" operation near the islands, according to an exclusive report by Reuters.

Twelve nautical miles mark internationally recognized territorial limits.



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