China angered by US after tracking warship in South China Sea23 January 2022 ❤ 2
The Chinese military has said it tracked a US warship that sailed through disputed waters in the South China Sea, accusing it of “provocative actions” and warning of “serious consequences”.The US Navy said its mission was in tune with international law and in line with its commitment to defend “every nation’s right to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows”.
A spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army’s southern theatre command said the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, “illegally entered China’s Xisha territorial waters without the approval of the Chinese government”.
The spokesperson, Col Tian Junli, said China’s navy and air forces were engaged to track and monitor the ship and give an “eviction” warning.
A photo from the Philippine Coast Guard shows Chinese vessels moored at Whitsun reef in the disputed South China Sea on 7 March.
“We solemnly demand that the US side immediately stop such provocative actions, otherwise it will bear the serious consequences of unforeseen events,” a statement from theatre command said.
In a responding statement, the US Navy said China’s statement was “false”.
The Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracels, are disputed islands in the South China Sea. China, Vietnam and Taiwan all claim sovereignty, but China holds practical control.
China has created military infrastructure on the island chain, which “plays a key role in China’s goal of establishing surveillance and power projection capabilities throughout the South China Sea,” said the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.
The South China Sea, which is crossed by crucial shipping lanes and also contain gas fields and rich fishing grounds, is a significant flashpoint in tensions between China and its regional neighbours, and with the US.
The US frequently carries out what it calls “freedom of navigation” missions in the South China Sea to challenge Chinese territorial claims. It said the USS Benfold on Thursday asserted “navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law”.
菲律宾海岸警卫队的一张照片显示，中国船只于 3 月 7 日停泊在有争议的南中国海的圣灵岛礁。
By F. Aslam