06:38 GMT16 May 2021
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    The Chinese Defense Ministry accused America of violating China’s laws by patrolling near the Paracel Islands archipelago, conducted by a US Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur.

    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.

    The Defense Ministry of China strongly condemned the move, urging the US "not to continue down the wrong path" and warning that otherwise China will take all necessary measures according to the situation.

    "US actions severely violated Chinese law and sabotaged the peaceful, safe and good order in relevant waters and is not beneficial to regional peace and stability." said a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, Yang Yujun.

    He added that no matter what provocations the US side may take, Chinese armed forces will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard China's sovereignity and security.

    Earlier on Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the US warship entered the territorial waters of China illegally, stressing that prior to that, any foreign warships must obtain permission from the Chinese Government, according to the relevant provision of the Law of the People's Republic of China. The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said the Chinese side took appropriate action against the American ships in accordance with the law, taking it under surveillance and alerting the crew.

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

    On Thursday, Hua Chunying said that China continues to adhere to the principle of freedom of navigation and the protection of the South China Sea.

    China and some countries in the region, including 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 deliberately used US support to escalate tensions in the region.


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