UK, Germany, France warn on South China Sea tensions

FILE PHOTO: Chinese structures are pictured in Subi Reef at disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain, Germany and France said on Thursday they were concerned by tensions in the South China Sea, in a statement issued the day after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China.

The situation there “could lead to insecurity and instability in the region,” the three countries said in a joint statement issued by Britain’s foreign ministry.

China and the United States have traded barbs in the past over what Washington has said is Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea via the building of military installations on artificial islands and reefs in disputed waters.

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by John Stonestreet