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China forces US warship out of South China Sea again

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 US Navy's 7th Fleet says that the USS Milius is conducting routine operations in international waters. (Photo by Reuters Archive)

China's ministry of defense has announced that it once again had to monitor and expel a US Navy destroyer USS Milius, which had illegally entered China’s territorial waters of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

"We sternly demand the US to immediately stop such provocative acts, otherwise it will bear the serious consequences of unforeseen incidents," a spokesperson said on Friday in a statement from the Ministry of National Defense.

On Thursday, China’s military said it monitored and drove away a US warship that had illegally entered waters around the South China Sea.

The Friday incident happened amid growing tensions in the region with the rise of Washington’s military activities in the Asia-Pacific.

Declaring its oft-repeated justification, the US Navy claimed the guided-missile destroyer was defending its rights and freedom of navigation.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and over flight, free trade and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations,” the US Navy 7th fleet said in an emailed statement.

China has expressed concerns over the US war games with its allies in the Asia-Pacific.

President Xi Jinping and his newly appointed Foreign Minister Qin Gang both used strong language last week, condemning the US for preserving a "Cold War mentality.”

The muscle-flexing by the US comes after President Xi paid a high-profile visit to Russia, signing an agreement with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to bring their ties into a “new era” of cooperation.  

The talks were intended to cement the “no limits” partnership the two leaders announced last February. 

A joint statement said Washington is undermining global stability and NATO is barging into the Asia-Pacific region.

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