US naval manoeuvres in South China Sea risk clash with Beijing


China expresses concern about reports that the US is preparing to send warships around the disputed Spratly islands

Officials in Beijing have expressed concern after the United States signalled it was poised to up the ante in the South China Sea by sending warships through waters claimed by China.

American navy vessels are preparing to sail through a 12-nautical mile zone around the disputed Spratly islands that China claims as its own territory, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing a senior US official.

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Those manoeuvres are expected to begin over the next two weeks, the newspaper added. 

Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said: “We hope the United States can look upon the current situation of the South China Sea from an objective and fair perspective and play a constructive role together with China in keeping the peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

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