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Beijing protests after US Navy sails near China-claimed islands | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

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A US Navy destroyer has sailed near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, drawing protests from Beijing.

The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said on Friday that the USS Halsey conducted a “freedom of navigation operation” near the island chain after transiting the Taiwan Strait.

China, Vietnam and Taiwan claim the Paracel Islands.

A spokesperson for the Chinese military’s Southern Theater Command said the US vessel made an unlawful and unauthorized intrusion into China’s territorial waters.

The official also called the United States the biggest saboteur of peace and stability in the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Beijing last month and agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the need to stabilize bilateral ties.

The United States continues to challenge China’s extensive maritime claims in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

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