The Pentagon dispatched a U.S. Navy warship and sailed near a disputed island claimed by China in the South China Sea for the second time since President Trump took office. The USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer based in Japan, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, which is part of the Paracel Islands located in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam, Fox News reported.
In response, military vessels and fighter plane were dispatched by China to warn off the US missile destroyer USS Stethem at trespassed China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang on July 2, 2017, People’s Daily, China reported.
“Under the pretext of ‘freedom of navigation,’ the US side once again sent a military vessel into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands without China’s approval,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that such US behavior “has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation. The Chinese side is dissatisfied with and opposed to the relevant behavior of the US side,” Lu said.
“Working together, China and ASEAN member states have cooled down and improved the situation in the #SouthChinaSea. The US, who deliberately stirs up troubles in the South China Sea, is running in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development,” Lu added.
“The Chinese side strongly urges the US side to immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security. The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security,” the statement reads.