The Pentagon says the sail intends to ‘challenge excessive maritime claims’ by China and to ‘preserve access to waterways as governed by international law’
BEIJING, China – China on Friday, November 30, scolded the United States for sending naval vessels close to disputed islands in the South China Sea where Beijing has built military installations.
The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships through the area to conduct “freedom of navigation” operations, intended as a signal to Beijing of their right under international law to pass through the waters claimed by China.
According to the Pentagon, the USS Chancellorsville guided-missile destroyer sailed Monday near the Paracel islands, known as Xisha in Chinese, “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law.” (READ: China increasingly isolated as France, Britain set sail for disputed seas)
The Chinese military scrambled aircraft and warships, sending out warnings for the American vessel to leave the area.
“We urge the US to strengthen the management of its vessels and aircraft that pass by Chinese territory to prevent unexpected events,” People’s Liberation Army Southern Theatre spokesman Li Huamin said in a statement.