The Chinese government slammed United States’ latest freedom of navigation operation. On July 2, US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem (DDG-63) conducted the said operation within the 12-nautical miles waters off Paracel Islands in South China Sea.
“The Chinese side strongly urges the US side to immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security,” China Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Lu Kang said.
He added that China will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security.
He said the US using freedom of navigation “violated the Chinese law and relevant international law.” He added that the US action “disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation.”
China deployed military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the US vessel.
“In accordance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996. The relevant Chinese law has explicit provisions on foreign military vessels’ entry into the territorial sea of China,” he explained.
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