Conflicts & War

China slams passage of US navy ship through Beijing-claimed waters

Beijing, Dec 4 (EFE).- China’s military slammed the passage Monday of US navy’s combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords through a shoal located in the South China Sea, which Beijing disputes with several Southeast Asian countries.

Tian Junli, spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command, said in a post on social media platform Weibo that the American ship illegally entered the waters near Ren’ai shoal (also known as Ayungin shoal) without the approval of the Chinese government.

The PLA’s Southern Theater Command followed and monitored the ship, he added.

The spokesperson said that the US “deliberately disrupted the South China Sea” and “severely undermined regional peace and stability.”

“This fully demonstrates that the United States is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he added.

Tian said China had “indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters”

He added that the Chinese troops were always on high alert to resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The US navy ship’s passage comes at a time of deepening military relations between the Philippines and the US amid growing tensions between Manila and Beijing due to ongoing incidents between Chinese and Filipino ships around several shoals and islets, which both claim as their own in the waters of the South China Sea.

The Chinese government claims almost the entire South China Sea, including the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos, which overlaps with the 200-mile exclusive economic zones that other nations, such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, are entitled to under international law.

Beijing has claimed it has historical rights over the area, but in 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of Manila in its complaint against Beijing’s claims, a ruling China has refused to accept. EFE

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