World Media

USA team in Beijing for trade talks after International Monetary Fund 'storm' warning

USA team in Beijing for trade talks after International Monetary Fund 'storm' warning

China voiced its "strong dissatisfaction" with the United States on Monday, after Washington sent two warships to disputed waters near islands in South China Sea as negotiators prepared to resume talks on averting an all-out trade war between the two countries. The news comes on the day that a US trade delegation arrived in Beijing for another round of talks in the ongoing trade conflict between USA and China.

The USS McCampbell destroyer conducted a "freedom of navigation" operation within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands five weeks ago to "challenge excessive maritime claims", according to the Pacific Fleet, which Beijing also protested.

"The relevant actions of the USA warships violated Chinese sovereignty and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas".

China has lashed out at the United States in the wake of another "freedom of navigation" exercise conducted by the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, accusing Washington of undermining "peace" and "security".

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some South-east Asian navies operate.

Beijing and Washington remain at loggerheads over USA allegations for China's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs. "All operations are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

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The Spratly Islands are a disputed group of islands, islets and cays and more than 100 reefs, sometimes grouped in submerged old atolls, in the South China Sea. The operation was the second in the South China Sea reported by the US Navy this year.

The rising military tension comes against the backdrop of an increasingly bitter trade war between China and the US.

Fears have grown in recent months that the US-China trade dispute is just one element in a bilateral relationship that is fast cooling across the board, with top US administration officials sharply criticising Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber espionage in the US.

It has claimed the USA is responsible for ratcheting up war fears in the region by sending warships and military planes close to territory China believes it is entitled to.

Speaking on background, a USA official said the Navy ships passed near Mischief Reef, which China has augmented with a huge land reclamation project and equipped with missiles, extensive surveillance equipment, and a military-grade airfield, even though the reef is also claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.