U.S.'s Mnuchin, in China, looks forward to trade talks

An MH-60R Seahawk attached to the

An MH-60R Seahawk attached to the"Warbirds of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49 flies over the guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Momsen in July 2016. (U.S. Navy

With the US now pushing a plan of prioritizing spending on artificial intelligence research, it will be hard to talk China out of its policies to dominate advanced technologies.

Navy spokesman Commander Clay Doss told USA media: "All operations are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows". However, strident White House China critic Peter Navarro was not listed as part of the United States team.

Beijing accused the USA of entering Chinese waters without permission and engaging in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty.

Beijing sharply criticised the operation. "We, of course, hope, and the people of the world want to see, a good result", Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman, said.

Beijing and several of its neighbors, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, claim the South China Sea. Beijing rejected the ruling and the authority of the tribunal.

The US has accused Beijing of installing missiles and other military hardware on the disputed islands.

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"China urges the U.S.to immediately stop such provocative actions and earnestly respect the efforts by regional countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea". In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

Shortly after that operation, China accused the U.S. of trespassing in its territorial waters - and said it had deployed missiles "capable of targeting medium and large ships". American warships have also sailed through the strait separating mainland China from democratically run Taiwan.

"We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future", the Navy spokesman said in the statement to ABC.

A growing number of US businesses and lawmakers have expressed hopes for a delay in the tariff increase while the two sides tackle the hard USA demands for major "structural" policy changes by China aimed at ending the forced transfer of American trade secrets, curbing Beijing's industrial subsidies and enforcing intellectual property rights. "We've got big interests there, so we're going to remain there", Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said recently.

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