China’s National Defense Ministry has strongly opposed the entry of two US warships into its territorial waters without permission.
The US vessels’ arbitrary entry into the waters around the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea has been considered a serious breach of the country’s sovereignty by the ministry.
The two US Navy warships involved in the incident are the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Antietam and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Higgins.
As noted by National Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian, the Chinese military took immediate action upon being alerted to the presence of the US Navy ships.
The military deployed naval vessels and aircraft to carry out the legal identification and verification of the US Navy ships and subsequently warn them off, said Qian.
Wu said: “The US provocative action by sending, once again, warships into China’s territorial waters surrounding the Xisha Islands violated Chinese law and relevant international law, and seriously infringed the sovereignty of China.”
According to the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese Government proclaimed the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands as inherently Chinese territory in 1996.
Qian stated that the Chinese military is currently focused on strengthening and improving its naval and air-combat readiness in order to increase the nation’s defence capabilities, as well as safeguard national sovereignty and security.
The initiative is also intended to ensure regional peace and stability, added Qian.