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Beijing claims US warship violated its South China Sea sovereignty, vows action

Beijing claims US warship violated its South China Sea sovereignty, vows action

While speaking Saturday, ministry spokesman Wu Qian warned the USA against causing "trouble out of nothing".

"China respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea for all countries in accordance with global law, but resolutely opposes any country's move to impair China's sovereignty and security interests in the name of freedom of navigation and overflight", the spokesperson said. "China is strongly dissatisfied with that and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty".

The United States has criticised China for constructing islands and military installations in the region, saying they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the patrol was in line with worldwide law and was an "innocent passage", in which a warship effectively recognises a territorial sea by crossing it quickly, without stopping.

In a separate statement on Saturday, China's defence ministry said the repeated dispatch of U.S. warships to the region was "undermining regional peace and stability" and hurting bilateral relations.

China state news agency Xinhua reported that its Ministry of National Defense told the United States not to "cause trouble out of nothing", and to respect the sovereignty of China.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer entered the US Navy's 7th Fleet area of operations on January 4, where the ship is on an 'independent deployment, ' the Navy said in a statement.




A Pentagon statement downplayed the issue by not directly referring to the incident, while asserting that US Navy patrols around the world regularly carry out "freedom of navigation" missions. "We are continuing regular FONOPs, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future".

The small island, also known as the Scarborough Shoal, is a disputed territory also claimed by the Philippines.

The Philippines has sparred with China for decades over what it says is aggressive conduct at the Scarborough Shoal.

The area where the ship was intercepted is still a contested region, but China claims that it belongs to them.

Beijing claims virtually the entire South China Sea, and has built up a series of man-made outposts in what the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank has said is a bid to create "fully functioning air and naval bases".

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at CSIS, said the USA freedom of navigation operations in the waters were unlikely to stop.

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