Beijing expresses anger at US Navy mission through disputed South China Sea

Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai China

Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai China

The US sailed two warships close to the disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday to challenge China's excessive maritime claim, according to a media report which said the move is certain to draw the ire of Beijing.

Hua's warning came as both sides were in Beijing to prepare for a new round of talks this week.

The US is "determined to stir up trouble in the South China Sea, create tension and undermine peace", Hua said.

"The relevant actions of the U.S. warships violated Chinese sovereignty, and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas", Hua said.

The two sides are trying to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

China has lashed out at the United States in the wake of another "freedom of navigation" exercise conducted by the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, accusing Washington of undermining "peace" and "security".

But Hua slammed the USA, arguing that "China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters".

Speaking about the most recent operation, Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, told CNN that the action was meant to "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by worldwide law".

Speaking at a meeting of the Atlantic Council in Washington last week, Admiral John Richardson, chief of US Naval Operation, called for firmer rules governing naval encounters in disputed waters such as the South China Sea.

Observers fear the trade dispute is just one element in the deteriorating relationship between the world's two top economies with top White House officials sharply criticising Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber-warfare.

"That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe", he said.

China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships near South China Sea islands and reefs claimed by Beijing to signal their right under global law to pass through the waters, invariably angering China.

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have territorial claims in the region.

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