China's Xi Jinping to meet top U.S. trade officials

13 February, 2019, 19:44 | Author: Wade Massey
  • An official said the two US guided-missile destroyers traveled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands

Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers - the USS Spruance and the USS Preble - conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation on Monday, sailing within 12 nautical miles of Chinese outposts in the contested Spratly Islands. "That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe".

Shortly after that operation, China accused the United States of trespassing in its territorial waters - and said it had deployed missiles "capable of targeting medium and large ships".

The operation was carried out "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", Cmdr.

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. Clay Doss, a US Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN.

The optimism that another government shutdown in the world's largest economy would be averted and trade tensions between the United States and China were easing helped push bond yields higher as investors traded out of safety plays.

Beijing sharply criticised the operation. The American-side often doesn't announce such sail-bys in the South China Sea, where China's claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. US officials are pressing China to stop stealing intellectual property from American companies and commit to deeper reforms to a state-driven economic model that they say hurts USA competitors.

China then accused the USA of trespassing, and Chinese media announced it had deployed a "far-reaching anti-ship ballistic missile", the DF-26, that was "capable of targeting medium and large ships".

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"Spruance and Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", Doss said about the two ships, which are homeported in San Diego. American warships have also sailed through the strait separating mainland China from democratically run Taiwan.

In October, the destroyer USS Decatur had to maneuver to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship that came within 45 yards of its bow.

Chinese and USA officials will hold high-level talks this week aimed at halting their damaging trade war.

The US Navy, however, has stressed that it's not going anywhere.

"At some point, I expect to meet with President Xi, who I have a lot of respect for and like a lot, and make the parts of the deal that the group is unable to make", he said.

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