New per­ils ....

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

trol only fur­ther jus­ti­fied China’s con­struc­tion of de­fense fa­cil­i­ties in the area.

The USS Wil­liam P. Lawrence en­tered Chi­nese wa­ters near the is­lands “il­le­gally” on May 10 ,Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said, adding that the war­ship was mon­i­tored, tracked and warned. Yong­shu Reef be­longs to China but is also claimed by Viet­nam and the Philip­pines. Reuters quoted Bill Ur­ban, spokesman for the US Depart­ment of De­fense, as say­ing that the free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion op­er­a­tion was a chal­lenge to “the ex­ces­sive mar­itime claims of some claimants in the South China ea”.

Lu said, “The ac­tion by the US threat­ens China’s sovereignty and se­cu­rity, en­dan­gers the safety of peo­ple and fa­cil­i­ties on the reef, and harms re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity. “China strongly op­poses such ac­tion by the US and will con­tinue to take mea­sures to safe­guard its sovereignty and se­cu­rity” Lu said adding the flex­ing of US mil­i­tary mus­cle in the name of free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion poses the big­gest threat to peace and sta­bil­ity in the area.

The Chi­nese De­fense Min­istry said, “China dis­patched ves­sels and air­craft, in­clud­ing two fighter jets and three war­ships to iden­tify the US ves­sel and warned it to leave. The min­istry said the provo­ca­tion ex­posed US in­ten­tion “to dis­rupt the re­gional sit­u­a­tion and reap gains from it. It proved that China’s con­struc­tion of de­fense fa­cil­i­ties on. Nan­sha Is­lands and reefs in the Nan­sha Is­lands is to­tally jus­ti­fied and very nec­es­sary”. “China will en­hance mar­itime and air pa­trols as well as the con­struc­tion of “var­i­ous de­fense ca­pac­i­ties” in the area ac­cord­ing to its needs,” it added.

Li Guo­qiang, deputy head of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences’ In­sti­tute of Chi­nese Border­land Stud­ies, said the unau­tho­rized en­try into Chi­nese ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters by the US mil­i­tary ves­sel “is against the UN Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea, and vi­o­lates the rights, lit­toral states en­joy un­der the con­ven­tion”.

The US has fre­quently demon­strated its mil­i­tary power in the South China Sea re­cently. Ex­am­ples in­clude US B-52 bombers fly­ing near Huayang Reef in De­cem­ber 2015 and the de­stroyer USS Lassen en­ter­ing within 22 kilo­me­ters of Zhubi Reef in Oc­to­ber, last year.

The US in­volve­ment in South China sea is not a wel­come de­vel­op­ment in the con­text of world peace and un­der­stand­ing be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing. The pa­trol by US war­ship in the South China Sea will en­cour­age China to build more de­fense fa­cil­i­ties in the area which could cause re­gional as well as in­ter­na­tional ten­sion.

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