US war­ship sailed into waters off Xisha Is­lands with­out per­mis­sion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By MO JINGXI and ZHANG ZHIHAO

China strongly protested the tres­pass­ing of a United States war­ship into China’s ter­ri­to­rial waters off the Xisha Is­lands, dis­patch­ing bat­tle­ships and fighter jets to warn off the ves­sel.

“China will con­tinue to take all nec­es­sary means to de­fend na­tional sovereignty and se­cu­rity,” Foreign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said after the USS Stethem, a US guid­ed­mis­sile de­stroyer, sailed within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of Zhongjian Is­land in the waters off the Xisha Is­lands with­out no­ti­fy­ing China in ad­vance.

“China strongly urges the US to im­me­di­ately stop such provoca­tive op­er­a­tions that vi­o­late China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s se­cu­rity,” Lu said in a state­ment re­leased on Sun­day night.

This is the sec­ond time that US naval ships have car­ried out such op­er­a­tions since US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took of­fice. The first was in May, when a US war­ship en­tered the waters off Meiji Reef of the Nan­sha Is­lands.

Ac­cord­ing to Lu, the US be­hav­ior, un­der the pre­text of “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion” and with­out China’s ap­proval, vi­o­lated Chi­nese law and in­ter­na­tional law, and also put in jeop­ardy the fa­cil­i­ties and per­son­nel on the Chi­nese is­lands.

“It is a se­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion. China is strongly dis­sat­is­fied with it and op­posed to it,” he added.

The Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense con­firmed on Mon­day that the Chi­nese Navy dis­patched the guided-mis­sile de­stroyer CNS Luoyang, guided-mis­sile fri­gate CNS Suqian, minesweeper CNS Tais­han and two J-11B fighter jets to warn and drive away the US ves­sel.

“This is a se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tion of law, and China strongly op­poses such ac­tions,” min­istry spokesman Wu Qian said.

The Chi­nese govern­ment an­nounced the base­line for its ter­ri­to­rial waters around the Xisha Is­lands in 1996, yet the US con­tin­ues to send war­ships to tres­pass and com­mit acts of provo­ca­tion in Chi­nese ter­ri­to­rial waters, Wu said.

“These ac­tions have se­ri­ously dam­aged mu­tual strate­gic trust, se­ri­ously un­der­mined the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate for Chi­naUS mil­i­tary re­la­tions, se­ri­ously en­dan­gered the lives of soldiers on the front line, and se­ri­ously sab­o­taged re­gional peace and se­cu­rity,” he said.

The Chi­nese mil­i­tary will in­crease var­i­ous de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties, as well as the num­ber of sea and air pa­trols in the re­gion, based on the level of threat that the na­tion faces, Wu said.

Con­tact the writ­ers at mo­jingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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