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Dutch warned to stop naval infringements

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-12 09:13
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Zhang Xiaogang, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense. [Photo/]

China has told the Netherlands to strictly control its naval forces, warning that it will use firm countermeasures against any further infringements and provocations, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang was responding to a request for comment on the Dutch Defense Ministry's accusation that Chinese military aircraft "created a potentially unsafe situation" surrounding a Dutch warship in the East China Sea on Friday.

"What the Dutch side said is aimed at covering its infringements of China's sovereignty and rights," he said.

Zhang said a helicopter dispatched by the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp conducted infringements and provocations in waters off Shanghai on Friday, prompting the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army to radio a warning and mobilize aircraft to warn off the Tromp.

"Our actions were completely legitimate, reasonable and professional," he said. "It was the Dutch side, rather than the Chinese side, that created an unsafe situation.

"The Dutch side lied that its ship was 'carrying out a UN mission' and flexed its force in the sea and airspace under our jurisdiction, creating tensions and damaging the friendly relations between the two countries."

China is strongly dissatisfied with the Netherlands' moves and has lodged solemn representations with it, Zhang said.

"The Chinese military is always on high alert and will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and its maritime rights and interests," he said.

According to the Netherlands, the Tromp was operating in the East China Sea in support of a multinational coalition known as the Pacific Security Maritime Exchange, which is enforcing United Nations sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Two Chinese fighter jets circled the Tromp several times, while its marine patrol helicopter was "approached "by two Chinese warplanes and a helicopter during a patrol, it said.

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