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U.S. sails disputed waters amid China tensions

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U.S. sails disputed waters amid China tensions

U.S. sails disputed waters amid China tensions

A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, a move likely to anger Beijing at a time of rising tensions between the world's two largest economies.

Roger Fortuna reports.

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U.S. sails disputed waters amid China tensions

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** Tensions between the U.S. and China are yet again on the rise, as a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed into a disputed area of the South China Sea on Wednesday.

The U.S. military says the destroyer Wayne E.

Meyer cruised within 12 nautical miles of Chinese military installations built on artificial islands and reefs.

In his first news conference as Secretary of Defense Wednesday, Mark Esper made it clear the U.S. is sending a message.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MARK ESPER "China is engaging in a deliberate strategy to undermine the stability of the region.

Throughout my many conversations with foreign leaders, time and again they emphasized the need for the United States to continue to show leadership throughout the Indo-Pacific in order to preserve the freedom's we all enjoy." China and the U.S. have long argued over Beijing's buildup and territorial claims in the busy shipping area.

It's not uncommon for U.S. warships to operate in the South China Sea, where U.S. allies also have claims. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MARK ESPER "Together we are committed to defending our shared values and to our mutual security." But it comes at a time of soaring tensions between the world's 2 leading powers, stoked by a raging trade war and a US plan to counter China's moves with the deployment of new US missiles.

Analysts say that increases the risk that the South China Sea could become another major flashpoint in an increasingly strained relationship.




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