PEKING-China criticized the US for sending two warships to the southern Chinese waters that Beijing considers its territory amidst smoldering bilateral tensions over trade and North Korea.
In separate statements, China's foreign ministries and defense ministries each said "firm opposition" to what they described as violations of Chinese sovereignty by USS Higgins, a guided missile destroyer, and USS Antietam, a missile cruiser controlled near China on Sunday Paracel Islands are sailing.
"The Chinese military intervened immediately. The ships are to be identified with ships and aircraft and warned about them to expel, "said the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense
said in a statement stating that the two ships made "unauthorized" entry into Chinese waters.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
She said that Beijing expressed "strong resentment" and urged Washington to stop "provocative actions that violate Chinese sovereignty and threaten China's security."
Neither of the two statements provided details of the routes of US warships, although US military aircraft and ships have historically maneuvered 1
China has stated that it respects the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, but rejects the violation of its sovereignty in the name of freedom of navigation.
The past is marked by a sensitive period in US-China relations, which has already been clouded by disputes over trade imbalances and international efforts to force North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons.
Last week, US President
suggested that Beijing may have tempted Pyongyang to publish a hard-line rhetoric that led to its decision to end a planned summit with the North Korean head of state
Kim Jong Un
Although Mr. Trump has since expressed the hope that the meeting could take place in June, as originally planned
The Paracels – where the claims of China, Taiwan and Vietnam intersect – were a focus of a steady Chinese military build-up affirming military experts that Beijing is asserting its claims in the South China Sea
US satellite imagery has shown that in recent months, Beijing has installed radars and communication malfunctioning systems on the Paracels and another southern Chinese island chain, the Spratlys, and that Chinese Navy ships and military aircraft are frequent Have made visits.
Earlier this month The Chinese Air Force said a heavy bomber had landed on an island in Paracels – part of a military squad that, according to military officials, is strengthening Beijing's ability to enforce claims in the South China Sea.
The US has this month withdrew an invitation to China to participate in an American-led international military exercise in the Pacific Ocean scheduled for June, recalling Beijing's refusal to end the militarization of the South China Sea islands.
China's Foreign Minister,
criticized the Pentagon's decision and told reporters during a State Department visit that China's suspension from the Rim of the Pacific biennial exercise was "a very unconstructive move".
Write to Chun Han Wong at chunhan.wong @ wsj.com