Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Simmering tension rises in South China Sea: Beijing protests United States warship operation

Simmering tension rises in South China Sea: Beijing protests United States warship operation

The relevant Chinese law has explicit provisions on foreign military vessels' entry into the territorial sea of China, Lu said.

China has voiced "strong dissatisfaction" after two USA warships sailed by an island claimed by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea, adding to simmering tensions in the strategic waterway.

China's defense ministry said in a statement that two USA warships, the Antiem guided missile cruiser and the USS Higgins destroyer, entered disputed waters around the Paracel Islands before the Chinese navy intervened in what it considers to be a "serious infringement on China's sovereignty". However, both the Defence Ministry and the Foreign Ministry accused America of contravening both Chinese and worldwide law when they infringed upon Chinese sovereignty with warships.

China has controlled the Paracels entirely since violently seizing Vietnam's holdings in the area in 1974.

The Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory, Lu said, noting that in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996.

The move comes at a sensitive time between the U.S. and China, after the United States disinvited China from an worldwide military exercise last week and the two countries continue to spar over trade and foreign policy.

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China says navy pilots aboard the country's sole operating aircraft carrier have completed their first nighttime takeoffs and landings.

The Liaoning operates some two dozen J-15 fighter jets developed from Russian Sukhoi models. Mr Duterte was facing criticism over his apparent inaction on China's increasing military activity in the South China Sea, Mr Duterte questioned where his country would end up should war erupt in the region.

That drill was followed by live-fire military exercises on China's side of the Taiwan Strait. Last week the Pentagon disinvited China from an worldwide military exercise in an effort to send a message about the country's activities in the South China Sea. While this activity had been arranged a very long time ahead of time, and comparable tasks have turned out to be standard, it comes at an especially delicate time and days after the Pentagon uninvited China from a noteworthy U.S. facilitated maritime exercise.

However, China has continued to ignore a 2016 Hague agreement and claims the South China Sea in its entirety, deploying missile systems on Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef.

China's foreign and defense ministries both protested the "unauthorized" American freedom of navigation exercise.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that the territory in the South China Sea falls under its jurisdiction.

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