USS Chancellorsville was ‘entering’ its waters in the South China Sea, Beijing says
The Chinese military said its forces had “monitored and warned” the American guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville after its approach to the Nansha [also called the Spratly] Islands in the South China Sea early Tuesday.
The arrival without prior permission from China of the US warship near the islands, which Beijing considers part of its territory, was a “serious violation of China’s sovereignty and security,said the country’s military spokesman, Tian Junli.
This decision is further proof that Washington is working to “militarization of the South China Sea”, Tian said, adding that the United States was a “provocateur against peace” In the region.
The spokesperson reiterated the Chinese military’s commitment to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty and maintaining stability in the South China Sea.
The US Navy’s 7th Fleet has dismissed Chinese accusations because “fake,” insisting that the USS Chancellorsville had conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the area, in accordance with international law.
“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world, regardless of the identity of the claimant,” It said.
Nansha, also known as Spratlys, is a vast archipelago, parts of which are claimed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
Beijing, Taipei and Hanoi insist that foreign military vessels must receive permission or submit prior notification before crossing the zone.
Washington believes that these demands are “illicit” and ask “a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight [and] free exchange” in the South China Sea, crossed by multiple trade routes.
The US destroyer USS Benfold had also sailed near the Nansha Islands in July, with Beijing vigorously protesting the move.
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