US Vice President to attack China in major speech as ties worsen

Chinese warship comes within 45 yards of colliding with San Diego-based destroyer

China expressed anger yesterday after a US Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea, saying it was resolutely opposed to an operation that it called a threat to its sovereignty.

The Americans reported the Chinese ship conducted a series of "aggressive" manoeuvres while warning the Decatur to get out of the area.

It approached within 45 yards of the Decatur's bow, forcing it to maneuver, Gorman said.

On Monday, a day after Beijing canceled his trip to China, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis "tension points" between the Beijing and Washington.

The U.S. would 'continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows, ' said Gorman, the Pacific Fleet spokesman.

It added that the U.S. was "taking one provocative operation after another ... under the pretext of "navigation and overflight freedom".

"As a senior career member of our intelligence community recently told me, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country", Pence will say. "However, FONOPs challenge excessive maritime claims and demonstrate our commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under global law", Commander Christensen said.

Two B-52s flew over the South China Sea last week in what the Pentagon called a routine mission.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Beijing next week amid tensions over trade and China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Gaven Reef is located in the Spratly Islands chain in the South China Sea where China claims seven man-made islands as its own.

Pictures released by the U.S. Navy show the two destroyers in very close proximity to one another, with the Chinese destroyer in the lead just a short distance ahead of the American destroyer.

"The US side repeatedly sends military ships without permission into seas close to South China Sea islands, seriously threatening China's sovereignty and security, seriously damaging Sino-US military ties and seriously harming regional peace and stability", the ministry said. Later Oct. 1, the South Korean military detected North Korean soldiers engaged in what it believed was demining on the northern part of the sites, a South Korean defense official said on condition of animosity, citing department rules.

The Defense Ministry insisted the America freedom of navigation patrol "gravely threatens China's sovereignty and security, gravely damages relations between China and the United States and their militaries, and gravely injures regional peace and stability".

In the photos, first obtained by gcaptain.com, the People's Republic of China destroyer Luoyang is seen within 45 yards of the USS Decatur before the U.S. ship is forced to veer away to avoid a collision near the Gaven Reefs on Sunday, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr.

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