Trump open to letting March 1 deadline for China tariffs slide

The US has made several excursions into the South China Sea provoking Beijing's anger

The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 22kms of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation".

An airstrip, structures, and buildings on China's man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea.

But Hua slammed the USA, arguing that "China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, Mischief Reef, and the adjacent waters".

Navy spokesman Commander Clay Doss told USA media: "All operations are designed in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows". Clay Doss, a US Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN.

China claims nearly all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.

Beijing sharply criticised the operation.

Beijing and several of its neighbors, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, claim the South China Sea.


China struck an upbeat note yesterday as trade talks resumed with the United States in Beijing, but also expressed anger at a US Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, which has cast a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties. Beijing rejected the ruling and the authority of the tribunal. In January, China urged the U.S.to halt "provocative actions" after a USA guided-missile destroyer conducted sailed near the Paracel Islands, which are occupied by China and claimed by Vietnam.

Reacting to the US' move, China accused Washington of trespassing in its territorial waters.

Monday's sail-by is the second United States freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea this year. American warships have also sailed through the strait separating mainland China from democratically run Taiwan.

During a South China Sea freedom-of-navigation operation in September, a Chinese destroyer challenged a US vessel to a showdown, forcing the US Navy ship off course and risking a deadly collision.

President Donald Trump said he is open to letting a March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese products pass without penalty if the two sides are near an agreement, sending a conciliatory signal as talks to resolve a trade war between countries continue.

Negotiations about two weeks ago in Washington went fairly well by all accounts, but officials have said there's a lot of work that needs to be done before a deal can be made.

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