The Chinese military claimed on Thursday that a US warship had illegally intruded into the South China Sea. According to them, after this incident near Paracel Island, that warship was driven away. “The USS Milius vessel, which fired a guided missile, intruded into China’s territorial waters, disregarding the peace and stability of the region”, China said.
“The forces will maintain high alert at all times and take necessary measures to uphold the country’s sovereignty, security, peace and stability in the South China Sea,” said Tian Junli, spokesman for China’s South Command.
However, the US Navy has given its opinion keeping a different opinion from the statement of the Chinese Army. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said in a statement that their ship was on a “routine mission” in the South China Sea and was not evacuated. He has said that the US will continue to fly and ship wherever international law allows.
After this incident, the tension between the two countries has increased.
Similar interactions have occurred in the past, including in July last year when the Chinese army again claimed it “drove away” a US destroyer from the area.
The US’s Indo-Pacific Command at the time said China’s statement was “false” and the US ship was conducting a freedom of navigation operation (Fonop), in line with international law. The Fonop sought to challenge restrictions imposed by various parties including China, Taiwan and Vietnam, on “innocent passage” through the disputed area, and to challenge China’s claim of straight baselines which enclose the Paracel Islands.
Posts on the Indo-Pacific Command’s social media accounts confirm multiple US Navy exercises in the east Asian region in recent days, including the East China Sea, the Philippine Sea, and the South China Sea.