Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Beijing amid tension

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Beijing amid tension

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Beijing amid tension

Instead, it considers the waters and airspace to be worldwide and regularly conducts what it calls "freedom of navigation operations" in which warships and aircraft travel through disputed zones in order to demonstrate this.

Pence will deliver an 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) address at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington likely to increase tensions between the United States and China beyond trade disputes that have dominated President Donald Trump's time in office.

"Australia. played a very constructive role in all of these affairs and we'll continue to do that in a very sober, a very mature and a very measured way, in a way that would seek to de-escalate any issues rather than escalate", Mr Morrison said.

The USS Decatur was doing what the american military calls "operation for freedom of navigation" when it happened less than 12 nautical miles from reefs Gaven and Johnson, in the archipelago of the Spratleys.

Pence will also argue that Chinese officials have tried to influence business leaders to condemn US trade actions, "leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China".

In a speech that also takes aim at China's controversial use of huge loans to exert influence in developing countries, Pence will cite a recent near-miss between a USA destroyer and Chinese vessel in the South China Sea as a sign of "reckless harassment" in the region.

The resource-rich South China Sea is the subject of conflicting and overlapping claims by a number of countries, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Chinese defence ministry said it opposes the United States warship's entry into the waters "around China's islands and reefs".

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During a press briefing on Tuesday, Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State, that Pompeo will travel to Beijing on Monday where he "will meet with his Chinese counterparts to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues".

The Chinese ship then conducted a series of 'increasingly aggressive maneuvers, and warned the Decatur to depart the area, ' he added.

Relations between the U.S. and China have deteriorated recently over an escalating trade dispute and military issues.

The Chinese government claims the rights to the region and harshly opposes the entry of any foreign ships into the waterway without permission from Beijing.

The behavior 'gravely threatens China's sovereignty and security, gravely damages relations between China and the USA and their militaries, and gravely injures regional peace and stability'.

And Beijing also opposes a USA decision to issue a visa ban and assets freeze on China's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu.

Such freedom-of-navigation operations have been somewhat routine near man-made reefs and islands that China has militarized in the South China Sea. China also canceled a scheduled port call by the USS Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to Hong Kong.

Mattis characterized China's militarization in the South China Sea as being for "intimidation and coercion".

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