BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:30 A.M.) – The Chinese military was ordered to stay on high alert and to take all necessary measures to protect national sovereignty after U.S. warships entered the South China Sea waters on Monday.
According to Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesperson of the Southern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, their forces warned the two U.S. naval destroyers to leave the South China Sea.
Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, expressed China’s strong discontent and firm opposition to the US destroyers’ behavior at a routine press conference on Monday. The behavior violated China’s sovereignty, disturbed regional peace and stability, he noted.
The two destroyers traveled within 12 nautical miles of the Nancun and Chigua reefs in the Nansha Islands, according to Geng.
“The situation in the South China Sea is improving thanks to the efforts of China and ASEANcountries,” Geng said, urging the US to stop such provocative operations.
The operations are the latest of the US to threaten China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea under the name of freedom of navigation, which experts said is just “an excuse for the US to stir up tensions in the region and contain China.”
“The US’ excuse of freedom of navigation does not stand because international law never allowed US warships to freely enter another country’s territorial waters,” Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.
“As you can see, the situation in the South China Sea has already stabilized. Countries directly involved, including the Philippines, all agreed to peacefully solve the problems through dialogue and negotiations, and these countries are now focusing on economic cooperation,” Zhang noted.