China warns US over ‘provocative acts’

Freedom of navigation threatened by Chinese claims.

South China Sea: China warns US over ‘provocative acts’

China’s naval commander has warned his US counterpart against “dangerous and provocative acts”, days after a US warship sailed close to contested islands in the South China Sea.

Admiral Wu Shengli said in a video conference that there was a risk that such minor incidents could spark war, according to a Navy statement.

The US said the talks were productive and that dialogue would be maintained.

China’s claims in the South China Sea are contested by its Asian neighbours.

On Thursday, an international arbitration panel ruled that it is entitled to hear a case brought by the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China, involving one group of islands in the South China Sea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in the Hague, rejected China’s argument that the dispute was about sovereignty – and so beyond its remit.

China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said China would not accept, nor participate in, any case at the arbitration court.

In recent years, China has begun carrying out land reclamation and construction projects on several reefs, prompting the US to call for a halt on such efforts.

China has argued that it is acting lawfully based on its sovereign rights.

On Tuesday, the US sailed its guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen inside the 12-nautical mile zone China claims around Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago.

The US said it was conducting “routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with international law”, but China said it was illegal.


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