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China slams US gunboat diplomacy as trade talks begin

CHINA protested at Washington’s gunboat diplomacy today after a US warship entered Chinese-claimed waters just as trade talks were beginning in Beijing.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force was scrambled and naval vessels were dispatched to identify the ship. It was discovered to be the USS Campbell destroyer and was warned to leave the area.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China would continue to make an effort to solve trade disagreements with the US envoys.

“To properly resolve existing issues of all kinds between China and the US is good for the two countries and the world,” he said.

“Both sides have a responsibility to create a good atmosphere to this end.” He called on the US to call “an immediate halt to such provocative actions.”

The US warship was in waters claimed by China but this is disputed by a number of Asian nations. The Chinese government has built a series of artificial islands in the South China Sea to secure trade routes for essential imports such as oil, which Beijing fears could be quickly cut off by the US in the event of a confrontation because of the large US military presence in east Asia.

The US stations tens of thousands of soldiers in South Korea and Japan, while its navy regularly patrols the Chinese coastline.

A US mission headed by trade representative Jeffrey D Gerrish is engaging in talks aimed at defusing the trade war sparked by US President Donald Trump, who has slapped 25 per cent tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese imports.

The US is pressing China to abandon its Made in China 2025 initiative, a plan to create state-led “global leader” companies in new technologies.

Washington says the plan violates free market rules established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The US also opposes China’s policy of requiring foreign firms to share expertise in return for market access.

The EU has also filed a WTO complaint against China on the grounds that it regulates economic activity in a way which restricts foreign companies’ abilities to make profits there.

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