Vietnam scraps South China Sea drilling project amid Chinese pressure

Mar 25, 2018, 01:01
Vietnam scraps South China Sea drilling project amid Chinese pressure

In this photo, provided by the U.S. Navy, the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is on patrol on September 8, 2014.

The US has been pushing its allies to carry out freedom of navigation operations as well.

Neither the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Chinese Ministry of National Defense immediately responded to a request for comment. Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

A news report of the US navy's mission came on the same day that the Chinese navy was supposed to carry out combat drills on the South China Sea.

China said the entry of the American guided-missile destroyer named USS Mustin in the contentious waters was a "serious political and military provocation" and it was also "warned off" by two Chinese vessels.

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Friday's operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. "All operations are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

China's navy and air force frequently carry out drills in the South China Sea, where the government has been building man-made islands and constructing airstrips and other facilities, unnerving the region.

The ministry claimed that by carrying out these so-called infringements, the U.S. had "damaged the atmosphere of military-to-military relations between the two countries, caused close encounters by air and naval forces, which could easily trigger miscalculation or even accidents at sea or in air".

According to state media, the navy will hold the drills "in the near future" but didn't elaborate further on their timing or what they would entail.

"This is a routine annual planned arrangement for the navy, the aim of which is to test and improve the military's training level and to fully raise the ability to win".

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The drills do "not target any particular country", the report added.

The South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, cited Ni Lexiong (倪樂雄), a Shanghai-based military expert, as saying the US was deliberately trying to put pressure on China with the warship as trade tensions between the two escalate.

Ren called the move a provocation by the US and said China resolutely opposes such actions because they harm the military relations between the two countries, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "US destroyer sails close to contested island in South China Sea".

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