China’s military on Tuesday claimed they had “displaced” a US Navy destroyer that was sailing the controversial South China Sea, questioning Beijing’s claims about the area.
U.S. Navy ships regularly sail the controversial South China Sea (SCS) to ensure freedom of navigation in the region.
China claims almost the entire 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea as its territory. China has established military bases on man-made islands in the region, which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
China has hindered commercial activities like fishing or mineral exploration through countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.
On Tuesday, the Southern Theater Command announced to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that the US destroyer USS John S. McCain “entered waters near China’s Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) without the permission of the Chinese government.” .
“The PLA Southern Theater Command organized, warned, and evicted naval and air forces,” Lt. Col. Tian Junli, a spokesman for Southern Command, said in a statement.
The U.S. warship’s breach came just a day after China’s second aircraft carrier – Shandong – entered the South China Sea for exercises, said China Military Online – the official Chinese military website.
China currently has two active aircraft carriers – Liaoning and Shandong.
Commenting on the recent incident, the website quoted analysts as saying that the PLA had once again demonstrated its control over the region and its ability to maintain national sovereignty and security.
The U.S. action was a grave violation of China’s sovereignty and security and has seriously disrupted the peace and stability in the South China Sea, which China is ruling against, Tian said, stating that commandos are on high alert at all times for their duties and responsibilities to preserve national sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the region.
The US “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea has been routine since 2017. By conducting a new operation, the Trump administration is using its last month to burden US President-elect Joe Biden with major problems – China Relations, Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for South China Marine Studies, said Tuesday the state-run Global Times.
According to the South China Sea’s Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a Beijing-based think tank, the US conducted similar operations nine times in 2020, the most frequently in the past five years.
Mr. Chen said it was uncertain whether the US warship’s intrusion was related to the Shandong exercises, but there is no question that the US warship provoked China.