China lodges 'stern' protest over USA warship sailing through South China Sea

The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships near the Paracel Islands an area claimed by China

USS McCampbell, the destroyer, carried out a new freedom of navigation operation, sailing within 12 nautical miles of islands in the Paracel Islands group in the South China Sea in what the U.S. Pacific Fleet said was an operation to "to challenge excessive maritime claims".

China has made "stern representations" to the U.S. after an American destroyer sailed through waters claimed by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.

The US guided-missile destroyer McCampbell sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea as officials of both the countries kicked off their first face-to-face talks here to resolve the trade dispute during which the world's top two economies have imposed import duties on more than United States dollars 300 billion of each other's goods.

The more intractable issues related to structural reforms to China's industrial policies, as well as enforcement of any pledges, have been raised by officials on both sides, though there is little clarity on details.

Trump imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods past year and threatened more to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property and hacking. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own.

Earlier on Tuesday, China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import, a move seen as a "goodwill gesture" by some in the USA agriculture industry that could boost China's overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods. President Donald Trump said the state of the country's economy is giving China an incentive to negotiate.

During that 90-day period, agreements "may not be reached until the last day", said Tu Xinquan, director of the China Institute for World Trade Organization Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.




An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war entered a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress.

Inside the White House, some key economic advisers are campaigning for a quick resolution to the trade conflict to help soothe battered markets. "China's development has ample tenacity and huge potential", Lu said. Among many things, the Communist leader pledged to buy more USA agricultural and industrial products, allow increased access to Chinese markets, and abide by more cybersecurity and property theft rules.

"I don't see any linkage with the trade talks", said Glaser.

Official U.S. fuel storage data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due at 1800 GMT on Wednesday. That includes giving specific dates for making purchases, and making assurances that Beijing won't hinder USA companies from gaining access to China's market.

The Trump administration's calculus regarding how much to stress either increased purchases of United States goods, on the one hand, or structural reforms reflects a divide within the White House.

He is expected to meet chief U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer later this month.

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