China slams US Navy's new 'provocation' in South China Sea

US destroyer in South China Sea called'provocation by Beijing

He added that the Chinese Navy identified the warship, warned and expelled it.

The operation came as President Donald Trump's administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.

This is not the first a U.S. ship has sailed close to the disputed island in the South China Sea, last month the USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton island in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Well, the world superpower United States and the hermit state North Korea provoking each other on firing nukes.

Cayetano explained that the final joint communiqué this year was a result of compromise as some ASEAN member-states wanted a "stronger" statement on the South China Sea while the others wanted a "weaker" one.

China insists that a much-delayed code of conduct between it and ASEAN members over the disputed sea must not be legally binding, a demand to which Southeast Asian countries have so far acquiesced.

In the latest sail-by, US military officials notified Philippine counterparts of the maneuver, a Philippine official said, adding that Philippine forces were not involved.

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"The Sea of Japan is not Japan's sea", People's Liberation Army Air Force commander Ma Xiaotian said on Thursday, in response to a question at a military event in the north-eastern city of Changchun.

Ma said that while China will continue its military activities, those "in the Sea of Japan are still not that many".

"They happen off the coast of Canada" and "in the waters off shore of our major allies, friends, partners all around the world", she said. "The operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law", she said.

An global tribunal refuted China's claim to a large swathe of the South China Sea in 2016 in a case brought by the Philippines, though Beijing has rejected the ruling.

In August 2015, AMTI claimed that two months after Wang Yi claimed all Chinese reclamation had ended, there was only a small amount of newly created land on the western end of Tree Island.

The U.S.is not a party to the disputes in the busy and potentially oil- and gas-rich waters that also involve Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Both the Navy and the missile forces were expected to get the bulk of China's annual defense budget, which past year amounted to $152 billion, second only to that of the U.S.

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