China urges the US to stop provocations in the South China Sea, said the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command spokesperson Li Huamin on Monday.
File photo: the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble.
The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble entered the adjacent waters of Ren’ai reef and Meiji reef in China's Nansha Islands without the permission of the Chinese government on Monday, Li said.
The Chinese air and sea forces organized by the command tracked and monitored the US vessels during their whole course, and legally identified and verified them and warned them to leave. The action of the US vessels undermined China's sovereignty and violated peace, security and good order in the relevant maritime areas.
China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. The provocative actions violated Chinese laws and relevant international laws, infringed on China’s sovereignty and endangered regional peace and stability, said Li.
“China urges the US to stop similar provocative actions. Theater troops will closely monitor the situation and take measures to defend national sovereignty and security if necessary,” said Li.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying at a routine press briefing earlier Monday said that China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposes the provocative actions
“The Chinese side respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled to under international law, but firmly opposes the undermining of China's sovereignty and security interests by any country in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight,” said Hua.
Hua also stressed that with the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has maintained peace and stability and is moving in a positive direction. The above-mentioned action of the US has severely provoked trouble, created tensions and undermined peace and stability in the South China Sea, which goes against the will of the people, said Hua.
China strongly urges the US side to stop such provocative actions and respect the efforts of regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, said Hua.
“China will continue to take all necessary measures to firmly defend the national sovereignty and security and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Hua said.