THE CHINESE military released warships and warplanes to intercept two US vessels that entered the disputed waters of the South China Sea in the latest confrontation in the region.
Chinese armed forces sent military personal to intercept two US Navy vessels after they entered the South China Sea. The confrontation was the latest in a string of disputes in the region between Beijing and other contested territories. A statement, issued by Chinese People’s Liberation Army, reacted to the recent presence of the US ships near the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands.
The statement released on Friday, read: “The Chinese PLA sent ships and aircraft to conduct the whole-process monitoring and verification on the two US warships and warned them to leave.”
Southern Theater Command spokesperson Sen Col Li Huamin accused the US of trying “to stir up trouble in the South China Sea under the pretext of freedom of navigation.”
The official release added: “He urged the US side to stop such provocative acts immediately so as to avoid unexpected incidents.
“Li reiterated that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters.
“No matter what tricks the US vessels and aircraft may play, the Chinese military is determined and has the ability to safeguard the national sovereignty and security and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
The US Navy said the USS Gabrielle Giffords sailed near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands on Wednesday, and the USS Wayne E. Meyer guided-missile destroyer passed the Paracel Islands on Thursday.
Commander Reann Mommsen, spokeswoman for the US 7th Fleet based in Japan, told AFP: “USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) challenged the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam and also contested China’s claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands.
“USS Gabrielle Giffords demonstrated that Mischief Reef, a low-tide elevation in its natural state, is not entitled to a territorial sea under international law.”
China said its forces tracked the US ships before warning them off, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing on Friday, according to the transcript released by the Chinese Government.
He said: “The US move severely undermined China’s sovereignty and security interests as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Stop such provocative acts immediately so as to avoid unexpected incidents
Chinese People’s Liberation Army statement
“We firmly oppose that. China has made stern representations and strong protests to the US side.
“China respects and safeguards all countries’ freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea according to international.
“That said, we firmly oppose the behaviour of any country to undermine China’s sovereignty and security under the pretext of such freedom.”
South China Sea
South China Sea explained (Image: US)
Shuang urged the US to “immediately stop such provocations” which were “regional peace and tranquility”.
He added: “China will take all necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
The South China Sea is often disputed, with China having tense relations with Vietnam and the Philippines over islands in the region.
The United States and China have also been working to try to secure a trade deal between the powerful country’s, but progress appears unlikely this year.
The trade war between the regions has sparked frustrations for US business and farmers, disrupting supply chains across the globe.
Any deal could be pushed into the new year with the US Presidential election potentially becoming a stumbling block in a comprehensive agreement being secured.