11:42 GMT +324 September 2017
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    Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan

    China Once Again Calls on US to Cease Maneuvers in S China Sea

    © AFP 2017/ POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO
    Asia & Pacific
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    China has accused America of violating Chinese territorial waters by patrolling near the Paracel Islands archipelago, conducted by a US Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur.

    USS Curtis Wilbur
    © REUTERS/ U.S. Navy/ Declan Barnes
    The destroyer approached the island of Triton in the Paracel Islands archipelago at a distance of 12 nautical miles. According to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis, the move was aimed at the protection of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

    He added that the operation was a provocation to China, Taiwan and Vietnam, who according to the US are trying to limit the rights and freedom of navigation.

    “An incursion by a US warship in Chinese territorial waters on Saturday is the latest attempt by Washington to return tension to the South China Sea and encourage more regional stakeholders to challenge China,” wrote China Daily.

    Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said that the situation was stabilizing before the latest outspoken remarks and intrusion by Washington. One of the US’ goals is to bring back tension in the region.

    “In the long run, Washington still defines the South China Sea issue as a tool to contain China,” Zhang added.

    According to Hua Chunying, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Chinese side took appropriate action against the American ships in accordance with the law, taking it under surveillance and alerting the crew.

    “According to the relevant provision of Law of the People’s Republic of China, any foreign warships entering the territorial waters of China must obtain permission from the Chinese Government,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported Hua Chunying as saying.

    On Wednesday, the head of the Pacific Command US Navy Admiral Garry Harris said that the US insisted on the need to respect international rules of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

    China and some countries in the region — Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines disagree over maritime boundaries and areas of responsibility in the South China and East China seas. China believes that a number of countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam consciously have used US support to escalate tensions in the region.

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    Tags:
    freedom of navigation, tensions, provocation, People's Liberation Army, Hua Chunying, South China Sea
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