BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:10 P.M.) – An infringing U.S. warship in China’s territorial waters has received a warning to stay away, a military spokesman confirmed, pledging that the Chinese army will continue its resolute efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Colonel Li Hua Min, spokesman for the Southern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, made the remarks late Thursday in response to the USS Mosten’s guided missile destroyer in the waters near the Shisha Islands, according to Xinhua News.
They told me that “the naval and air forces of the leadership tracked the warship, verified it, identified it and warned it to stay away.”
He explained that the American side, ignoring the rules of international law, has repeatedly provoked unrest in the South China Sea, and exercises navigational hegemony under the pretext of freedom of navigation, adding that such moves severely undermine China’s sovereignty, security interests and the navigation system in the South China Sea.
The spokesman urged the American side to stop provocations and strictly manage the movements of its navy and air forces, and to rein in its forces on the front lines so as not to cause unexpected accidents.
Noting that China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the islands and coral reefs in the South China Sea and adjacent waters, Li said that the Southern Theater Command will always remain on high alert, will firmly protect China’s national sovereignty and security, and will firmly maintain peace and stability in the China Sea Southern.
The United States and China exchanged critical statements on Thursday, amid escalating military tension between the two largest economies in the world.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, said that his country “will not give up an inch” in the Pacific Ocean, while China responded by saying that Washington was risking the lives of its soldiers.
Washington and Beijing have been at odds over issues ranging from technology, trade and human rights to Chinese military activities in the South China Sea. Each country accuses the other of provocative behavior.
Source: RT, Xinhua