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China demands halt to provocative US moves in South China Sea

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain prepares to depart from dry dock at Fleet Activities Yokosuka after an extensive maintenance period in Yokosuka, Japan, November 27, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

China’s military has announced the intrusion of a US warship into its territorial waters near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea without authorization from Beijing, demanding the halt of “such provocative actions.”

“We demand the US immediately stop such provocative actions, (and) strictly control and restrict military operations in the sea and air,” said a Chinese military spokesperson on Friday in a post on an official WeChat account after American destroyer USS John McCain entered the waters claimed by China.

Beijing would take whatever measures necessary to decisively safeguard China's national sovereignty and security and preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea, the spokesperson added.

The development came just days after the hawkish US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed what he called China’s “exploitation” in the region, emphasizing that Washington seeks to halt Beijing’s influence “in the South and East China Seas, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Strait.”

His provocative remarks came during an Indo-Pacific meeting in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo on Tuesday, when he further urged fellow members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) – Japan, India and Australia – to team up with Washington to establish a formalized military alliance and a united front against China.

“[I]t is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation,” Pompeo said, referring to China’s Communist Party.

Chinese officials censured Pompeo’s remarks and called on him to drop his “Cold War mentality.”

This is while the famed US foreign policy strategist and former US Secretary of State and national security adviser Henry Kissinger warned Washington and Beijing on Wednesday to halt the escalation of threats against each other or they will face a situation similar to World War I.

Kissinger further underlined that the US must realize that it can no longer achieve “unilateral superiority” in economic and technological strength, warning rising tensions between the two countries over a number of issues could ultimately result in a disastrous, kinetic war.

“Our leaders and [China’s] leaders have to discuss the limits beyond which they will not push threats, and how to define that,” he added in a virtual discussion with Federal Reserve Bank of New York President sponsored by the Economic Club of New York.

The United States has long held an anti-China posture, but it has been significantly ramping up tensions with the country in recent months.

Relations between China and the United States have hit their lowest point in decades amid aggressive US posturing over trade, technology, Taiwan, Hong Kong, human rights, the South China Sea and the coronavirus.

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