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Military warns US vessel trespassing near Nansha

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-12-23 09:21
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The Chinese military dispatched maritime and air units to warn and expel a United States naval vessel that trespassed in waters adjacent to China's Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday, the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater Command said in a statement.

Senior Colonel Tian Junli, a spokesman for the theater command, said on Tuesday that the US destroyer USS John S. McCain had trespassed in waters near Nansha without approval from the Chinese government.

The PLA Southern Theater Command mobilized maritime and air units to warn and expel the vessel, Tian said. "The US action has seriously violated China's sovereignty and security and has seriously damaged peace and stability in the South China Sea region, and we express our resolute opposition."

Personnel at the theater command will remain on high alert and resolutely fulfill their duties to protect national sovereignty, security and peace and stability, he said.

The trespass took place a week after the John S. McCain conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Philippine Sea with the French submarine FS Emeraude and the Japanese helicopter carrier JS Hyuga, which were reported by the US Navy on Friday.

On Oct 9, the same US vessel trespassed in waters around China's Xisha Islands in the South China Sea without permission. The PLA Southern Theater Command also dispatched units to monitor, identify and expel the vessel.

"The US keeps sending warships to the South China Sea to flex its muscles and enhance its military presence … it is a naked display of navigational hegemony and military provocation," it said in an October statement.

"We urge the US side to immediately stop such provocation, and strictly manage its maritime and air operations so as to avoid unexpected incidents," it said, adding China has undisputable sovereignty over islands and their adjacent waters in the South China Sea, and the PLA Southern Theater Command will do "whatever it takes" to safeguard national sovereignty and peace and stability in the region.

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