Beijing ‘angered’ as 2 United States warships enter S. China Sea - spokeswoman

Beijing ‘angered’ as 2 United States warships enter S. China Sea - spokeswoman

"The relevant actions of the U.S. warships violated Chinese sovereignty and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas". "That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe".

Freedom-of-navigation operations occur frequently, but they have not stopped China from bolstering its position militarily in the South China Sea.

"Under such circumstances, the U.S. insistence on provocation, creating tensions and destroying the peace and stability of the South China Sea is unpopular", she said.

The USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation", CNN reported.

Navy spokesman Commander Clay Doss told USA media: "All operations are designed in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows".

Beijing sharply criticised the operation. The ships entered the waters without China's permission, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.The US warships sailed near the islands the same day that China resumed trade talks with Washington.

China's claims to the South China Sea were largely discredited by an worldwide arbitration tribunal three years ago. Beijing rejected the ruling and the authority of the tribunal.

The Chinese military has since bolstered its presence in the region, deploying military hardware and other defense systems.

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China says the bases are essential for self-defense and accused the USA of ramping up tensions in the region by sending battleships and warplanes close to the disputed islands. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

The US has also sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, drawing Beijing's ire.

China claims nearly all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambasts the U.S. and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.

Washington is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address commercial practices that it says are deeply unfair, including theft of American intellectual property and myriad barriers that USA and other foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market.

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

Preliminary discussions had been expected to start on Monday, according to the White House, before US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin step in for the main event on Thursday and Friday.

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