China said on Sunday that the US missile destroyer trespassing China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands was “serious political and military provocation.” Citing Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang as saying, Xinhua reported that China dispatched military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the US vessel. Earlier on Sunday, the missile destroyer USS Stethem trespassed China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands.
The Xisha Islands are an inherent part of the Chinese territory, Lu said, noting that in accordance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996. “The relevant Chinese law has explicit provisions on foreign military vessels’ entry into the territorial sea of China,” Lu said.
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Under the pretext of “navigation freedom,” the US side once again sent a military vessel into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands without China’s approval, Lu said. He stressed that its behaviour has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands. The behaviour constitutes a serious political and military provocation, Lu said, stressing that the Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed it.