Beijing Outraged as US Destroyer Approaches Disputed South China Sea Island

US destroyer challenges Beijing's claims in South China Sea

US destroyer challenges Beijing's claims in South China Sea

A USA warship on Thursday sailed close to an artificial island China has built up in the South China Sea, as part of a "freedom of navigation" operation, a U.S. official said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry called on the United States to respect its sovereignty and security interests after the USA guided missile destroyer John S. McCain approached a disputed island in the South China Sea. 12 nautical miles from shore marks the territorial boundary for all nations.

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McCain sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of three Chinese man-made islands with a runway and military fortifications.

But Washington's patrols have often angered Beijing because the USA is not a claimant in the territorial dispute in the mineral-rich South China Sea.

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"We told them we are a United States (ship) conducting routine operations in worldwide waters".

The USS John McCain destroyer in the Asia-Pacific region. US President Donald Trump and his administration have been pressing China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on the isolated North Korean regime to prevent tensions from escalating further in the Korea peninsula. Chinese authorities claim 90 percent of the area and have repeatedly said that the country's activities in the region are China's sovereign right.

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