The Army assures that it sent “naval and air forces to track, identify and warn the destroyer to leave after entering territorial waters”
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) today claimed to have expelled the US destroyer, USS Mustin, from waters near the disputed Paracel Islands (Xisha, in Mandarin), in the South China Sea. According to Colonel Li Huamin, spokesman for the Southern Operations Command, “yesterday, Thursday, China sent naval and air forces to track, identify and warn the US warship to leave after entering territorial waters” that the country Asian considers under its sovereignty.
The spokesman – quoted today by the state newspaper Global Times – added that “the USA. it ignores the rules of International Law and continues to provoke in the South China Sea, where it exercises its hegemony in the name of freedom of navigation”.
The US Navy has posted on Twitter photos of the USS Mustin conducting manoeuvres in waters near the Paracels, without mentioning the incident.
“These actions seriously undermine our sovereignty and interests. China has unquestionable sovereignty over those islands and their adjacent waters, and our troops are always on high alert. We urge the US to cease these activities,” he said.
For its part, the US Navy published today, on its Twitter social network account, photographs of the USS Mustin performing manoeuvres in waters near the Paracels, but made no mention of this incident.
The Ministry of Defense of China indicated this Thursday that relations between Washington and Beijing face an “extremely serious” situation and that the Asian country has adopted “energetic measures” to “firmly safeguard its sovereignty.”
“Some American politicians are doing everything they can to undermine relations between the two armies and even create military accidents and conflicts, endangering the lives of soldiers in the front line of fire,” said spokesman Wu Qian.
China has not clarified whether it launched two “anti-aircraft” missiles in the South China Sea on Wednesday as a warning to the US.
However, Wu did not clarify whether China launched two “anti-aircraft” missiles in the South China Sea on Wednesday as a warning to the US, as had been claimed by some local media such as the South China Morning Post, which cited anonymous sources.
According to that newspaper, China would have launched the missiles in response to the sending of a US reconnaissance plane to a no-fly zone that the PLA uses to carry outmanoeuvres.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei claim parts of this strategic sea – through which 30% of global trade circulates and which is home to 12% of the world’s fishing grounds, in addition to oil and gas deposits – although China claims the sovereignty of those waters in their entirety.