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China protests after US warship sails near island

August 12, 2017

BEIJING: An angry Beijing warned off a US warship after it sailed near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea in the latest operation aimed at loosening the Asian giant’s grip on the strategic waterway.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the actions of the USS John S.McCain had violated Chinese and international law, “seriously” impairing the country’s sovereignty and security.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with this,” Geng said in a statement, adding that Beijing would lodge an official protest with Washin­gton.

The USS John S. McCain destroyer sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef — an artificial island built by China — on Thursday as part of a “freedom of navigation” operation, a US official said.

The reef is part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which is the scene of rival claims between China and neighbouring countries.

The US official said a Chinese frigate sent radio warnings at least 10 times to the USS McCain.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017