The Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that a US destroyer has entered the country's territorial waters in the South China Sea without permission, thus, violating Beijing's sovereignty.
According to a statement made by Beijing, "On January 17, a US destroyer entered the waters of China 12 nautical miles from the Huangyan island [also known as Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea] without the permission of the Chinese government. The Chinese Navy, in accordance with the law, carried out a "friend-or-foe" check against the American vessel and issued a warning to leave the corresponding waters."
"The actions of the US military vessel undermine the sovereignty and security interests of China and seriously endanger the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel carrying out planned actions in the area," the statement reads.
Beijing has also expressed serious discontent and vowed to "take all necessary actions to ensure its sovereignty."
However, the ministry has reiterated its respect for the freedom of navigation and flights in the South China Sea region for all countries in accordance with international law, but said that it "resolutely opposes the actions of any of the states committed under the pretext of freedom of navigation and flights that may damage sovereignty and the interests of China's security."
China has repeatedly voiced protest over US FONOP operations in the South China Sea, a disputed region claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam, as it is believed that it has vast energy resources. Chinese authorities claim 90 percent of the area and have repeatedly said that all the country's activities in the region are China's sovereign right.