Beijing expels US warship from South China Sea
Beijing, Jul 12 (EFE).- The People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) said Monday it had expelled a United States warship from the waters of the disputed Paracel Islands (known as Xisha in Mandarin) in the South China Sea.
The USS Benfold had entered China’s territorial waters without the approval of the Chinese government, the military’s Southern Theater Command said in a statement posted on its official WeChat account.
The PLA sent a warning to the warship and its navy chased it away, Tian Junli, a Southern Theater Command spokesperson said in the statement.
Tian said that the USS Benfold’s entry into Chinese waters was a violation of China’s sovereignty and interests and undermined the peace and stability in the South China Sea region while violating international law and the norms governing international relations.
China urges the US to stop such provocative actions, the spokesperson added.
The theater command will “remain on high alert, and take all necessary measures to fulfill its duty of protecting national sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability in the region,” Tian said.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, which serves as a passage for 30 percent of the global trade and is home to 12 percent of the worldwide fish resources, apart from housing oil and gas reserves.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire area. EFE