News ID: 92355
Publish Date : 12 July 2021 - 21:37

BEIJING (Dispatches) -- China’s military said it “drove away” a U.S. warship that illegally entered Chinese waters near the Paracel Islands on Monday, the anniversary of a Western court ruling that held Beijing had no claim over the South China Sea.
The USS Benfold entered the waters without China’s approval, seriously violating its sovereignty and undermining the stability of the South China Sea, the southern theatre command of the People’s Liberation Army said.
“We urge the United States to immediately stop such provocative actions,” it said in a statement.
On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled that China had no historic title over the South China Sea, a ruling that China said it would ignore.
The Benfold asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands consistent with international law, the U.S. Navy said in a statement on Monday, repeating its routine declaration after such intrusions.
The islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, which require either permission or advance notification before a military vessel passes through.
“By engaging in innocent passage without giving prior notification to or asking permission from any of the claimants, the United States challenged these unlawful restrictions imposed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam,” the U.S. Navy said.
Hundreds of other islands, reefs and atolls in the resource-rich waterway are contested by Brunei, China, Malaysia and the Philippines, with China claiming rights to resources within its so-called nine-dash line, or most of the region.
“By conducting this operation, the United States demonstrated that these waters are beyond what China can lawfully claim as its territorial sea, and that China’s claimed straight baselines around the Paracel Islands are inconsistent with international law,” the U.S. Navy said.
Tensions are at their peak between the U.S. and China over a series of issues, with Washington having imposed a wave of sanctions on Beijing.
On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department said 14 companies were added to its Entity List over their dealings in Xinjiang, and another five for allegedly aiding China’s armed forces.
China said it “take necessary measures to firmly safeguard Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests”.
The Commerce Ministry said the U.S. move constituted an “unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises and a serious breach of international economic and trade rules.”

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