China has vowed to take “necessary measures” to protect its sovereignty after a U.S. navy destroyer sailed near a disputed shoal claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea this week.
The Scarborough Shoal is a disputed territory claimed by the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
According to press reports, China’s foreign ministry stated that the missile destroyer USS Hopper came within 12 nautical miles of the disputed island.
Although confirming the passage, U.S. officials were quick to point out that it was an “innocent passage” in international waters.
“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Christopher Logan reportedly said.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang barked at the move claiming the USS Hopper’s violated its sovereignty and security interests and threatened the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel.
In the past, the United States has criticized China for constructing islands and military installations in the sea, saying they could be used to restrict free movement in a critical global trade route.
Lu said China “firmly opposes” efforts to use freedom of navigation as an excuse to hurt its sovereignty and urged the United States to “correct its mistakes.”
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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