Chinese warships and fighter jets met the American destroyer USS Stethem, who entered the waters of disputed Islands, Xisha (Paracel Islands) in the South China sea, which Beijing claims as its. This was stated by the Chinese foreign Ministry, accusing Washington of violating China’s sovereignty.
“The second of July, the American destroyer USS Stethem without permission entered the waters of the Xisha Islands in Chinese. China immediately sent warships and fighter jets in order to make the warning the American ship and to oust him from the territorial waters,” reads the statement of the official representatives of the Chinese foreign Ministry, Lu Kan, published on the Agency’s website.
China expressed strong protest in connection with actions of the American side and called docked U.S. Navy destroyer in the waters of the disputed Islands a serious political and military provocation which threatens infrastructure and personnel in Xisha.
“Islands are the ancestral territory of China. The US, hiding behind the banner of “freedom of navigation”, once again sent a military ship that illegally entered the waters of the Chinese Xisha Islands, violating China’s laws and relevant rules of international law, grossly violating China’s sovereignty, undermining peace, security and order in these waters,” said the Chinese foreign Ministry, urged the United States to cease such actions.
In the state Department, commenting on the statement of Chinese foreign Ministry, said that the United States acting within international law. “The United States will fly, swim and act wherever permitted by international law”, — said the representative of the Minister in an interview with RIA Novosti, adding that Washington will continue to exercise my right of “freedom of navigation” in the South China sea.
American warships frequently enter disputed territorial waters, China in response to protests. The White house had previously stated that such actions are designed to protect free navigation in the area.
Between China, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines there is a dispute concerning Maritime boundaries and areas of responsibility in the South China and East China seas. Beijing considers the archipelagos of Xisha and the Nansha (Spratly), which have territorial claims and other countries in the region, of its territory and says that its activities on these Islands and in adjacent waters are completely legal and falls under the sovereignty of China.