By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA May 11: China issues a resolute objection to the presence of a US warship patrol in the South China Sea near Yongshu Jiao in the Nansha Islands.
In an act of defiance by the Pentagon to show that the United States remains undeterred by the rapid Chinese militarization in the South China Sea, a US war ship, USS William P. Lawrence, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 miles of one China’s artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday, prompting China to issue a resolute objection.
China reacted by scrambling two J-11 fighter jets and a Y-8 naval patrol plane to fly over the waters on patrol and claims to have warned and expelled the US war ship, state media Xinhua reports.
“The American naval vessel threatened China’s sovereignty, security and interests, and it harmed the safety of the people and facilities in the island, damaging regional stability,” Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said in a regularly scheduled news conference according to a BBC report.
Blaming Americans of destabilizing the South China Sea, Lu said that the flexing of U.S. military muscle in the name of freedom of navigation is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the area.
In their defense, Cmdr. Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman said “This operation demonstrates, as President Obama has stated, that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” and added, “That is [as] true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe.”
Yang Yujun, a spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry, said in a press release that the illegal entry of the U.S. warship into Chinese waters was “severe provocation.”
“We can’t help but wonder how far the U.S. side will go in their militarization of the South China Sea and in sabotage of peace and stability,” he added.