Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

China says US warship violated sovereignty near Scarborough

South China Sea 'Sovereignty & security violation': Beijing outraged by US warship sailing off disputed island
Laurie Berry | 20 January, 2018, 19:15

Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said a Chinese missile frigate moved to identify and verify the US vessel and warned it to leave the area.

According to the foreign ministry, the USS Hopper came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan Island in the South China Sea - quite close to the heavily disputed chain of islets in the region, Reuters reported.

Huangyan Dao is also known as Scarborough Shoal, the ring of reefs which lies about 230 kilometres from the Philippines in the South China Sea (SCS), where Beijing's claims are hotly contested by other nations.

The United States does not claim territory in the South China Sea but has declared it has a national interest in ensuring that the territorial disputes there are resolved peacefully in accordance with worldwide law.

He said the Chinese Navy carried out identification and verification procedures in accordance with law and asked the USA vessel to leave. Manila continues to claim sovereignty over the feature. The shoal is also claimed by Taiwan.

US freedom of navigation operations are meant to test Chinese claims and assert the USA position that the contested features lay in worldwide waters.

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The U.S. action is seen as being part of the Pentagon's "freedom of navigation" operation in the South China Sea being conducted in an apparent move to challenge Beijing's claims and activities in the disputed water. China "firmly opposes" efforts to use freedom of navigation as an excuse to hurt its sovereignty and urges the United States to "correct its mistakes", Lu said.

The Chinese defense ministry said that their ship "immediately took actions to identify and verify the US ship and drove it away by warning", per Channel News Asia.

China's Ministry of National Defense has told the United States not to "cause trouble out of nothing", and to respect the sovereignty of China. The foreign ministry said a missile destroyer of the US Navy travelled in its territorial waters on 17 January.

Under joint efforts by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the situation around the South China Sea is becoming more and more stable and positive, Wu said.

But it added, "the United States has repeatedly sent warships illegally into the adjacent waters of the South China Sea islands and reefs".

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