China protests after US warship sails near island

| | Beijing:

 Beijing voiced displeasure after a US warship sailed near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea, an operation that prompted the Chinese navy to warn off the American destroyer. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the actions of the USS John S McCain had violated Chinese and international law, “seriously” impairing the country’s sovereignty and security.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with this,” Geng said in a statement, adding that Beijing would lodge an official protest with Washington. The USS John S McCain destroyer sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef — an artificial island built by China — on Thursday as part of a “freedom of navigation” operation, a US official said.

The reef is part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which is the scene of rival claims between China and neighbouring countries.                



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