Beijing and Washington are trying to hammer out a deal before a March 1 deadline, without which USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent. "We, of course, hope, and the people of the world want to see, a good result", Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman, said.
The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble travelled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands, which China claims ownership of.
Reacting to the US' move, China accused Washington of trespassing in its territorial waters. "China urges the U.S.to immediately stop such provocative actions and earnestly respect the efforts by regional countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea". The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and southern Vietnam.
"We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future", the Navy spokesman said in the statement to ABC.
"China has always respected and safeguarded freedom of navigation and flight based on global laws in the South China Sea, but resolutely opposes any country falsely using these harm the sovereignty and security of coastal countries", Hua said Monday.
Communist superpower China claims ownership over nearly all of the South China Sea - frequently slamming the United States and its allies for naval operations in the territory. The operation was conducted to demonstrate that the U.S.
All schools closed in Ottawa on Wednesday
Eastport-South Manor School District: Afternoon and evening activities are canceled. Toronto District School Board has closed all its schools and administrative sites.
In late September, the USS Decatur also sailed within 22kms of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands as part of a similar freedom of navigation operation.
The two countries are also at loggerheads over regional security, with the USA offering support to the island nation of Taiwan, which China also claims as its own. The Navy has carried out several FONOPS in the South China Sea in recent years, where China has built artificial islands and air strips and installed other military capabilities.
During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 41kms of the United States warship, forcing it to manoeuvre to avoid a collision.
China's foreign ministry struck a confident tone yesterday as a junior delegation of American negotiators arrived in Beijing.
China defends its construction as necessary for self-defense and says it is the United States that is responsible for ratcheting up tensions in the region by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.
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