BANGKOK (AP) — China threatened “serious consequences” on Friday after the U.S. Navy sailed its destroyers around the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea for the second day in a row. .
The warning comes amid heightened tensions between China and the United States in the region, with Washington lashing out at Beijing’s increasingly assertive stance in the South China Sea.
On Thursday, China said its navy and air force had driven out the American ship after the US sailed the USS Milius guided-missile destroyer near the Paracel Islands. Allegations denied by US military.
The U.S. on Friday again set sail near islands occupied by China but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. Notice or permission before a warship passes.
“Unlawful and extensive maritime claims in the South China Sea pose grave threats to maritime freedom, including freedom of navigation and overflight, free and unhindered commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for the South China Sea littoral states. ‘ said. US 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. jg Luka Bakic issued a statement via email.
“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world, regardless of the identity of the claimants,” Bakich added.
China’s defense ministry has accused the US of “undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea”.
“The U.S. military’s actions seriously violate China’s sovereignty and security, commit serious violations of international law, and provide stronger evidence of the U.S.’s pursuit of maritime hegemony and militarization of the South China Sea.” said foreign ministry spokesman Tan Kefei. “We solemnly urge the United States to immediately cease such provocations or to bear the grave consequences of unforeseen incidents caused by this.”
He said China would take “all necessary measures” to ensure its security, but gave no details.
As in a statement on Thursday’s incident, China again said it had forced American ships out of islands in the South China Sea hundreds of kilometers off the coast of Vietnam and China’s Hainan province.
Both sides said their actions were justified under international law.
Bakic told the Associated Press that after completing its mission near the Paracel Islands, the ship “wasn’t driven away” and “continued regular maritime security operations in international waters.”
“This operation reflects our commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation and legal use of the sea for all nations,” he said. “The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate as long as international law allows, just as Milius did today.”
Although the United States does not claim the South China Sea, it does have Navy and Air Force assets to patrol strategic waterways through which about $5 trillion in global trade passes each year and which hold invaluable fish stocks and undersea mineral resources. have been deployed for decades.
In 2016, a United Nations-backed arbitration tribunal ruled that China’s historic claims over waters had no legal basis under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and Washington ruled that waterway navigation and overflight operations were not permitted. the freedom of America’s national interest.
US forces now operate every day in the South China Sea and have been for more than a century. China has regularly responded angrily, accusing the United States of meddling in Asian affairs and violating its sovereignty.
China’s claims are frequently at odds with other countries in the region, Filipino diplomat was expected On Friday, China’s recent targeting of a Philippine Coast Guard vessel sparked a number of protests. powerful military laser and other aggressive behavior.