Two more US warships sail in South China Sea, angering Beijing

Two more US warships sail in South China Sea, angering Beijing
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Two U.S. warships sailed near islands in the South China Sea that Beijing has claimed as its own, further escalating tensions between the world superpowers as they engage in trade talks.

Reuters reports the U.S. military announced the presence of the two warships on Monday.

A spokesman for the Seventh Fleet told the news service the “innocent passage” of the ships was intended “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law.”

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The move is the latest in a back-and-forth between the U.S. and China, as the Trump administration looks to counter Beijing’s occupation of several territories in the disputed sea.

China has in recent years ramped up its territorial claims in the region while building military installations.

The move by U.S. warships reportedly ruffled Beijing.

“China urges the United States to stop such provocative actions,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a daily news briefing.

The two U.S. guided-missile destroyers, Preble and Chung Hoon, reportedly sailed within 12 nautical miles of reefs in the Spratly Islands.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE on Sunday said he was planning to raise tariffs on China as the two countries seek a long-term trade deal.

Trump argued the trade talks are taking too long as China attempts to “renegotiate” terms of a deal.