Alarm has been raised in the South China Sea as China’s armed forces said today that a US Navy cruiser “illegally intruded” into waters near the Spratly Islands, adding that they monitored its course and then pushed it back.
“The actions of the US armed forces are a serious violation of China’s national sovereignty and security,” said Tian Junli, a spokesman for the southern theater command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, as reported by Reuters.
The cruiser USS Chancellorsville recently sailed through the Taiwan Strait.
There has so far been no reaction from the US armed forces to the announcement.
According to Tian, the military’s intrusion shows that Washington is “causing security risks” in the South China Sea as it has set out to impose “its hegemony” on navigation and “militarize” the region.
Chinese armed forces will remain on high alert, the southern theater command said via the WeChat platform.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea.
The issue is among the many foci of tension in its relations with the US.
Washington rejects what it calls illegal territorial claims by Beijing in this strategically important region, both because of its wealth in natural resources and because it is a major sea route for global trade.
US warships have been sailing through the South China Sea more and more frequently in recent years under the pretense of freedom of navigation, effectively making shows of force.
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