Beijing described the passage of a warship of the US near a disputed area in the South China Sea on Friday as a “serious illegal act” and “deliberately provocative”.
In a statement issued this morning on its website, the Chinese Ministry of Defense indicates that two Chinese warships dissuaded a US destroyer continue on their way after penetrating “in Chinese territorial waters” near the Paracel islands, the China controls and whose sovereignty is claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
“The entrance [of the US ship] in Chinese territorial waters is a serious illegal act and deliberately provocative,” the statement said.
In another note, the Ministry of Chinese Foreign states that the US action “seriously violated the sovereignty and International Security interests of China and the Chinese and international laws.”
The Pentagon indicated on Friday it had sent the USS Decatur to near the Paracel detailing the ship had not, however, penetrated the perimeter of 12 nautical miles from the islands – defining limit of territorial waters, under international law.
The destroyer respected “the usual legal procedure and without being escorted by other ships and without incident,” said the Pentagon.
The US move appears as third operation “freedom of navigation”, carried out since the beginning of the year by the United States on several occasions, they stressed ignore the “excessive” maritime claims by China.
It was, however, of the first since the Permanent Court of Arbitration considered illegitimate Chinese claims, giving reason to the Philippines, which exposed the case, a decision favorable to other countries in the region like Vietnam, which also compete in the strategic waters .
Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, on a line that appears on Chinese maps from 1940 and has invested in major operations in the area, transforming coral reefs in ports, airstrips and other infrastructure.