US Navy destroyer conducts operation in South China Sea

Hanoi secures first visit by US carrier since Vietnam War, greater defense cooperation, as tensions build with China

Hanoi secures first visit by US carrier since Vietnam War, greater defense cooperation, as tensions build with China

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday the operation had violated Chinese and global law, "seriously" impairing the country's sovereignty and security as well as "endangering lives".

The USS John S McCain sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands on Thursday as part of a "freedom of navigation" operation, which prompted the Chinese navy to warn off the US destroyer.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang accused Japan of meddling in the South China Sea issue, saying China has lodged solemn representations to the Japanese side.

"The Chinese military is firmly opposed to such flaunting of force and promotion of militarization in the region by the US, which could easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air".

"China has the firm determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests", Geng said.

The sprawling base on the coast of the South China Sea is one of the three major bases of PLAN, which now is poised to expand in a major way.

China "scored a coup" during ASEAN's latest security summit when ASEAN countries issued a watered-down statement on the South China Sea disputes.

Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognized internationally.

Beijing is sensitive to even a veiled reference by ASEAN to its reclamation of seven reefs and its military installations in the South China Sea, which it claims in nearly its entirety despite the competing claims of five other countries. USA officials say the military will continue to sail, fly and operate wherever permitted by worldwide law.

Defending the first Chinese overseas naval base against accusations that it was created to amplify China's growing influence, Liang said it will act as a logistical center and support anti-piracy, United Nations peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief missions in the region.

China's sovereignty claim over the sea has been challenged by five regional nations - Vietnam، Taiwan، Brunei، Malaysia and the Philippines.

"They called and said "please turn around, you are in our waters", the official said.

Japan claimed in its defence white paper that "China has tried to change the status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea based on its own assertions, and this has become a common concern of the region and the world at large".

Southeast Asian countries were seen to be making progress in the South China Sea dispute when foreign ministers from China and ten ASEAN countries endorsed the Conduct Code Framework in the South China Sea on August 6.

The string of islets in Spratly archipelago is where China is reported to be building new facilities, paving the way for Beijing to deploy an array of military assets in the region.