The Chinese People‘s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday expelled a US warship that trespassed into Chinese territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, and the US operation amid the COVID-19 pandemic showed the US is the source that sabotages peace and stability in the South China Sea, a Chinese military spokesperson said on Thursday.
US provocations like this proved China‘s increased defense budget is well justified, analysts said.
The PLA Southern Theater Command organized naval and aerial forces to follow the US guided missile destroyer USS Mustin when it illegally trespassed into China‘s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands on Thursday without authorization from the Chinese government, said Senior Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesperson of the PLA Southern Theater Command, on Tuesday.
The PLA Southern Theater Command troops followed and monitored its course, identified the ship, warned and expelled it, Li said.
This provocative move, a naked hegemonic navigational action, seriously violated China‘s sovereignty and security interests and related international law and norms, and seriously sabotaged peace and stability in the South China Sea region, the spokesperson said.
This is not the first time the PLA has expelled a US warship from the South China Sea this year. Similar incidents occurred in late January with the littoral combat ship near the Nansha Islands; in early March with the destroyer near the Xisha Islands and in late April with the destroyer also near the Xisha Islands.
While the US is attempting to make such operations routine, the PLA has showed it is ready and able to stop these US military actions, a Chinese military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Thursday.