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CHINA warned the US at the weekend against sending warships to the South China Sea.
The government said that the “deeply provocative” plans threatened regional stability at a time when tensions were escalating between the two nations.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi insisted that the US naval build-up was “the only cause of destabilisation in the region” after Washington announced plans to carry out manoeuvres in the disputed waters.
US military spokesman Joe Jeiley insisted that the deployment of two aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan do not pose a threat … or respond to any political or global events.”
But it comes after China announced plans for its own exercises near the Paracel Islands, disputed archipelagos that are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
Mr Wang said that Beijing was entitled to carry out exercises in the strategic waterway.
“The Paracel Islands are indisputably Chinese territory, and our military has every right to conduct manoeuvres within the country’s sovereignty,” he said.
The deployment of two aircraft carriers is unlikely to be a coincidence coming so soon after Beijing’s declaration.
Last week the US State Department confirmed it was monitoring developments in the region.
A Pentagon statement last Thursday said: “Conducting military exercises over disputed territory in the South China Sea is counterproductive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability.”
But naval officials tried to downplay the presence of the ships on Saturday, claiming their deployment was part of “routine operations.”
Washington has increased tensions in the region, having previously deployed ships to the South China Sea in operations last month.
Responding at the time, Senior Colonel Li Huamin warned that the move was against international law and that it violated Chinese sovereignty.
“This is deliberately increasing security risks in the region and could very easily spark an unforeseen incident,” he warned.
China is being urged to consider a break from the US dollar.
The former deputy director of the Communist Party’s international liaison department’s Zhou Li has suggested that a decoupling is necessary amid a growing financial war.
In an article published by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies think tank on Saturday, he warned that US dollar hegemony “could become a major risk issue that has us by the throat” with the latest threat of sanctions targeting Chinese officials.
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