Beijing despatched a warship, fighter jets and a helicopter to chase off the Navy destroyer USS Chafee after it sailed near disputed islands within the South China Sea.
The Chinese army claimed the USS Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, had infringed on the nation’s sovereignty and safety with its ‘provocation’ because it handed the Paracel Islands.
The US operation was solely the newest “freedom of navigation” patrol aimed toward stopping China from limiting entry to the strategic waters.
An indignant China responded on Tuesday by dispatching its personal navy and air power to warn the US ship to depart, international ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying mentioned at this time (Thursday, October 12).
Hua mentioned: “The US vessel motion violated Chinese legal guidelines and related international legal guidelines, undermined China’s sovereignty and safety pursuits.
“China is firmly opposed to that and has lodged stern representations with the US.”
China’s defence ministry additionally mentioned it will now additional strengthen its naval and air defences.
If confirmed by the United States, it will be the fourth ‘freedom of navigation’ operation carried out by the US Navy this yr.
A US defence spokesman mentioned the operations had been carried out in accordance with international regulation and “demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows”.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan informed Reuters: “We are continuing regular freedom of navigation patrols, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future.”
The US Navy usually carries out such operations to problem China’s unilateral claims to the South China Sea, the place Beijing has reworked reefs into synthetic islands.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan additionally declare territory within the sea.
However, Hua mentioned: “The Chinese government will continue to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime entitlements. We urge the US to respect Chinese sovereignty and security interests.”
The USS Chafee carried out regular manoeuvring operations amongst a string of disputed islets, reefs and shoals.
Next month, President Trump will make his first official go to to Asia, together with a cease in China and the Philippines. Despite tensions over the South China Sea it’s doubtless he might be looking for help from Beijing to rein in North Korea.