China says US patrol in South China Sea harmed trust

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea.
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - The patrol by a US warship close to islands that China controls in the South China Sea harmed mutual trust between China and the United States and caused regional tensions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his US counterpart in a call.

Wang's comments to US Secretary of State John Kerry, reported by Chinese state television on Friday (Nov 6) come a week after a US guided-missile destroyer sailed close to one of Beijing's man-made islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing has repeatedly expressed its anger with Washington over the patrol.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than US$5 trillion (S$7 trillion) of world trade transits every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan all have rival claims.

China hopes the good foundation for ties with the US as laid down by President Xi Jinping's visit there in September does not "receive unnecessary interference", Wang said.

"The acts by the US naval vessel in the South China Sea harmed mutual trust and provoked regional tensions. China is extremely concerned by this," the report paraphrased Wang as saying.

"The US side should return as soon as possible to the correct path of appropriately managing disputes via dialogue and consultation," he added.

US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter flew to a US aircraft carrier transiting the disputed South China Sea on Thursday and blamed China for rising tension in the region.