It comes after experts warn the biggest Pacific land and sea grabs since the Japanese invasions of 1930s and 1940s are ‘almost complete’
CHINESE warships have confronted US Navy vessels today in what has been described as a “serious incident”.
The tense naval drama unfolded after the American warships sailed near a group of South China Sea islands claimed by China.
The presence of the US warships was slammed by Beijing just as President Donald Trump seeks to make peace with North Korea to avoid war breaking out.
The operation in the South China Sea was the latest bid to counter what Washington condemns as brazen efforts to take control of the strategically important seas.
The hotly contested region is also rich in fossil fuels, which China desperately needs to pump prime its booming economy with cheap energy.
While this naval drill had been planned months in advance, and similar operations have become routine, it comes at a particularly sensitive time.
It comes just days after the Pentagon uninvited China from a major US-hosted naval drill.
The American officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Higgins guided-missile destroyer and the Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser, came within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands.
The US military vessels carried out manoeuvring operations near Tree, Lincoln, Triton and Woody islands in the Paracels, one of the officials said.
China’s Defence Ministry expressed its anger at the presence of the American ships, saying it had sent its own vessels and aircraft to intercept them.
The move “contravened Chinese and relevant international law, seriously infringed upon Chinese sovereignty and harmed strategic mutual trust between the two militaries,” it said.
In a separate statement, China’s Foreign Ministry urged the United States to stop such actions.
“China will continue to take all necessary measures to defend the country’s sovereignty and security,” it added, without elaborating.