China trade talks resume

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the delegation

The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation".

Trade talks between the USA and China have resumed and China is reportedly upbeat.

China voiced its "strong dissatisfaction" with the United States on Monday, after Washington sent two warships to disputed waters near islands in South China Sea as negotiators prepared to resume talks on averting an all-out trade war between the two countries.

Beijing accused the USA of entering Chinese waters without permission and engaging in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty. "China urges the U.S. to immediately stop such provocative actions and earnestly respect the efforts by regional countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea".

"China has always respected and safeguarded freedom of navigation and flight based on global laws in the South China Sea, but resolutely opposes any country falsely using these harm the sovereignty and security of coastal countries".

The Trump administration is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address commercial practices that it says are deeply unfair, including theft of American intellectual property and myriad barriers that USA and other foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market.

More news: The Samsung Galaxy M series is coming to Malaysia!

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

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.

China and the U.S. have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs. The operation was the second in the South China Sea reported by the US Navy this year.

During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the United States warship, forcing it to maneuver to avoid a collision.

Observers fear the trade dispute is just one element in the deteriorating relationship between the world's two top economies with top White House officials sharply criticising Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber-warfare.

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have territorial claims in the region.

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