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US Navy destroyer is warned away

By ZHAO LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-24 06:54
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Two Chinese Navy ships identified and warned off a United States Navy destroyer on Friday that trespassed in waters surrounding China's territorial islands and reefs in the South China Sea, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said the CNS Huangshan, a Type 054A guided-missile frigate, and the CNS Liupanshui, a Type 056 corvette, were dispatched to identify the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin after it entered waters near some islands and reefs in the South China Sea without permission. The Chinese ships then warned the US vessel and told it to leave, he said.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over islands and reefs in the South China Sea and their surrounding waters. The fact that the US has continuously sent its naval ships to trespass in these waters has severely jeopardized China's sovereignty and security, undermined fundamental rules in international relations and compromised regional peace and stability," the spokesman was quoted as saying by a statement released on the ministry's website.

The Chinese military strongly opposes such acts because they have been serious political and military provocations and could damage the relations between the two militaries, and also were likely to result in misjudgment by commanders or even unanticipated incidents, Ren said.

China always respects and strives to safeguard other nations' lawful rights to sail and fly over the South China Sea, but firmly stands against anyone who attempts to make provocations under the name of "freedom of navigation", to jeopardize the sovereignty and security of related countries, and to impair regional peace and stability, he added.

"We demand that the US should respect China's sovereignty and security as well as the shared aspiration to peace and stability by all countries in this region," he said. "The US should stop making trouble out of nothing. Its provocations would only urge the Chinese military to further enhance our defense capabilities to protect sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability."

The USS Mustin is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer of the US Seventh Fleet's Destroyer Squadron 15, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan.

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