Asia

US playing political games with latest South China Sea patrol, Chinese media says

Chinese state media accused the U.S. on Monday of playing political games with its latest patrol in the South China Sea, adding that similar actions would not deter further construction work in the territory.

"U.S. provocations cannot change the present situation in the South China Sea," the Global Times said in an editorial, according to Reuters.

The comments come after the Pentagon dispatched a U.S. Navy warship to sail within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island on Sunday, which is part of the Paracel Islands located in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam. The destroyer was trailed by a Chinese warship during its voyage.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called the operation a “serious political and military provocation.”

“China strongly urges the U.S. side to immediately stop this kind of provocative action which seriously violates China's sovereignty and puts at risk China's security," Lu added.

It is the second time in Trump’s presidency that a Navy warship has patrolled the disputed waters. Triton Island is not part of China's artificial islands in the region which were constructed in the past few years atop former reefs, but is located among the landmasses in the Paracel chain.

The move comes as the U.S. steps up pressure on Beijing to do more to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs. The Trump administration imposed sanctions Thursday on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea’s missile programs and accused a Chinese-owned bank of laundering money to the rogue regime.

Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese President Shinzo Abe on North Korea Sunday.

Xi warned Trump that “some negative factors” are hurting U.S.-China relations.

Xi Jinping emphasized that, since my meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago, China-U.S. relations have achieved important outcomes," state broadcaster CCTV reported, referring to Xi's meeting with Trump in Florida in April. "At the same time, bilateral relations have been affected by some negative factors. China has expressed its position to the U.S."

It's unclear whether any of those issues will come up in discussions at the G-20 summit in Germany at which Trump and Xi are expected to hold a bilateral meeting.

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.