China today hit out at US’ “irresponsible” move to send a warship near a disputed island in the strategic South China Sea to challenge its sovereignty, warning that America’s deliberate provocations would have “extremely dangerous consequences” to regional stability.
The Chinese armed forces will take whatever measures necessary to safeguard China’s sovereignty and security, no matter what provocations the US side may take, China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said.
Yang’s statement came hours after the USS Curtis Wilbur, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Zhongjian Dao (Triton Island), part of the Xisha Islands (Paracel Islands)– an archipelago claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“This operation was about challenging excessive maritime claims that restrict the rights and freedoms of the United States and others, not about territorial claims to land features,” a US Defence Department spokesman Commander Bill Urban said in Washington yesterday.
But Yang described the US move as “very unprofessional and irresponsible” for the safety of the troops of both sides, and may cause “extremely dangerous consequences”.
He said the US act severely violated Chinese law, sabotaged the peace, security and good order of the waters, and undermined the region’s peace and stability. The Chinese Defense Ministry is firmly against this, he said.
The South China Sea is rich in natural resources. It is also a major shipping lane. Over half of the world’s commercial shipping passes through the Indo-Pacific waterways.