Amid Rising Tensions With Beijing, US Flies Bombers Over South China Sea

Saul Bowman
September 27, 2018

Amid the rising tensions with China over the on-going trade war and sanctions imposed on the Chinese military procurement unit for Russian Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles, the United States on Monday said it has approved the sale of spare parts and related support for Taiwan's US-made F-16 fighters and other military aircraft in a $330 million contract.

"The Chinese Government did not approve a request for a USA port visit to Hong Kong by the USS Wasp", a consulate spokeswoman said.

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale to Taiwan of spare parts for F-16 fighter planes and other military aircraft worth up to $330 million, prompting China to warn on Tuesday that the move jeopardized Sino-U.S. cooperation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that US arms sales to Taiwan were a serious breech of global law and harmed Chinese sovereignty and security interests.

In 2016, at a time of heightened tension over its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, China denied a request for a USA carrier strike group led by the John C. Stennis to visit Hong Kong. -China trade dispute. Each imposed tariff increases on the other's goods Monday, and Beijing accused the Trump administration of bullying.

China has long claimed ownership of a vast swath of the South China Sea, an important global trade route through which billions of dollars worth of cargo is shipped annually, and it holds potentially billions of dollars worth more in untapped mineral resources.

"We need to look at the broader context of the ongoing trade war between the two counties", he said. The U.S. also recently issued sanctions on China after discovering the country had bought fighter jets from Russian Federation and a surface-to-air missile system.

The decision comes at a time of heightened U.S.

U.S. military sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, is an irritant in the relations between the world's two largest economies.

At the Pentagon, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn confirmed that the US military had been informed that China's Navy chief would no longer meet America's top naval officer, Admiral John Richardson.

China has claimed large swathes of the strategic waterway and built up a series of islands and maritime features, turning them into military facilities.

Defence Secretary James Mattis said he was not concerned the USA transit flights would increase tensions with China.

The USS Wasp was planning to make a port call to Hong Kong next month, but unnamed military officials told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that Chinese officials rejected the Navy's request. The act targets Russia's defence and intelligence sectors, and was passed into law past year in response to Russian election interference, cyber attacks and aggression in Ukraine.

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said the government approves visits on a case-by-case basis.

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