Beijing (AFP) – China on Thursday accused the United States of trespassing after a US warship sailed near a reef claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, the first such operation by President Donald Trump’s administration in the disputed waterway.
The row comes during a period of warming relations between the countries, with Trump saying that Washington has dialed down pressure on Beijing over other issues in hopes of securing their cooperation on North Korea.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey entered the area “without permission from the Chinese government”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters at a regular press briefing, adding that the ship had “trespassed in the waters near the relevant islands and reefs.”
“The relevant action taken by the US vessel undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, and is very likely to cause unexpected sea and air accidents,” he said, urging Washington to stop “provocative actions.”
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