Trade Talks with China Begin amid Naval Spat

The USS McCampbell breaks away from a formation with ships following a photo exercise to signify the completion of Valiant Shield 2016 in the Philippine Sea, September 23, 2016. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Dionne via Reuters)

China urged the U.S. on Monday to provide a good atmosphere for trade talks, even as it made “stern complaints” about an American warship sighted in what it claims are Chinese waters.

The U.S.S. McCampbell, a guided-missile destroyer, ventured near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on a “freedom of navigation” mission, intended to “challenge excessive maritime claims,” the Pacific Fleet said.

The spat comes just as representatives from China and the U.S. meet for trade negotiations Monday and Tuesday, addressing U.S. allegations that China steals technology information.

“The two sides both have responsibility to create necessary and good atmosphere to this end,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. “As for whether this move has any impact to the ongoing China-U.S. trade consultations . . . to properly resolve existing issues of all kinds between China and the U.S. is good for the two countries and the world.”

Last year, President Trump imposed duties as large as 25 percent on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, leading China to respond by levying duties on $110 billion in U.S. goods. On December 1, the two economies agreed tentatively not to raise tariffs further.

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