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China says US aims to 'stir up trouble' with naval sail-by

AFP  |  Beijing 

accused the of trying to "stir up trouble" on Monday by sending two US guided-missile destroyers near disputed Sea islands.

The two warships sailed near the Beijing-claimed earlier Monday as part of what calls "freedom of navigation operations", Chinese told a daily press briefing.

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

She urged the US to cease the "provocative actions".

The sail-bys -- conducted by USS Spruance and USS Preble -- occurred as both sides started crucial trade talks in this week, seeking to avoid an all-out trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

asserts nearly all of the Sea as its territorial waters, while Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, and all claim parts.

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

In mid-January, US and British warships conducted their first joint military exercises in the Sea since Beijing began building bases and air strips on islands.

Another US warship, USS McCampbell, sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) of the chain -- north of the -- on January 7 during a previous round of trade talks between the two countries.

Just a day after that operation, Chinese CCTV reported that Beijing had deployed an anti-ship ballistic missile known as the DF-26 -- with a range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometres -- to the country's northwest.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 18:05 IST