Is China's Fleet of Underwater Ocean Drones for Science, or Military Power?

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Asked to comment on the challenges PLAN faces in the South China Sea, in particular those posed by the U.S. Navy, commanding officer of Yulin Captain Hu Luyang said it was fine for the American Navy to patrol the area in the global waters.

A U.S. defense official said the plan was for the destroyer to sail within 6 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of the artificial islands built by China in the Spratlys.

With the concerted efforts of countries in the region, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilised, he said.

Mr. Trump has pushed China to use its influence to compel North Korea to stop its missile tests and nuclear weapons development.

Beijing also said it was "very displeased" with the warship's actions and urged the USA to respect to Chinese sovereignty and security.

"China holds indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and surrounding waters", the Chinese Defense Ministry said early Friday. China has called on South Korea and the U.S.to suspend large scale military exercises in return for the North halting its programs in order to facilitate talks.

Perturbed by China's assertiveness, foreign ministers from the U.S., Australia and Japan released a joint statement, calling on "China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal's 2016 award in the Philippines-China arbitration, as it is final and legally binding on both parties".

"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and worldwide laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", it said. Despite the 65 year-old U.S. -Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, the Philippines was not sure Washington would back it militarily in a conflict with China.

Magnitude quake jolts Western Indonesia, no tsunami alert issued
A 6.5 magnitude quake struck west of Indonesia's island of Sumatra on Sunday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Beijing claims a massive section of the South China Sea that extends roughly 1,000 miles from its southern shores.

In the latest sail-by, US military officials notified Philippine counterparts of the maneuver, a Philippine official said, adding that Philippine forces were not involved.

The US official said the interactions were all "safe and professional", with the operation of the USS McCain lasting about six hours from start to finish.

The SSF is also responsible for keeping an eye on the resource-rich South China Sea where China is involved in maritime disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam, among other nations.

All or parts of the islands and territorial waters in the South China Sea are disputed by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei.

The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.

The United States does not recognize China's claim of sovereignty in that location and regards the area as worldwide waters. According to the ruling, the disputed Spratly Islets are not an exceptional economic zone.

Recently, China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting adopted the framework of the Code of Conduct (COC).The Code of conduct states that South China Sea disputes should be addressed through negotiations and consultations among the countries directly concerned, and China and ASEAN countries should work together to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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