Washington provokes Beijing in the South China Sea at its own peril
Two US Navy warships—the USS Higgins, a destroyer, and the USS Antietam, a cruiser—trespassed into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, provoking Beijing in the South China Sea.
The “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea on Sunday was the latest attempt by Washington to challenge China over maritime matters. According to US officials, such operations are routine and not aimed at any one country, but the provocative and coercive actions are clearly targeted at China.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed the US of trespassing in China’s territorial waters. In a statement released on Sunday, spokesperson Lu Kang said that the US warships entered Chinese territory without permission from the Chinese government, adding that the Chinese navy identified the US warships, warned them, and drove them away.
Lu stressed that Xisha Islands are China’s inherent territory, noting that the Chinese government, in accordance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, promulgated the baselines of the territorial sea adjacent to the Xisha Islands in 1996.
Lu called on the US to immediately stop such provocative operations that encroach upon China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security, adding that China will take all necessary measures to protect and defend the nation.
The Ministry of Defense also responded to the provocation. Spokesperson Wu Qian said in a statement that the US warships gravely violated Chinese sovereignty, undermined strategic mutual trust between the two militaries, and damaged peace, security, and good order in the waters.
Wu added that the Chinese military stands ready to protect and defend the nation and maintain regional peace and stability.
The operation also clearly angered many Chinese netizens, who took to the Internet to protest the provocation. “The US believes it should be the world’s policeman,” a Chinese netizen commented. “Perhaps we should send warships through their doorway to see what the reaction would be,” another commented.
China has long criticized Washington’s reckless behavior. Last year, a series of incidents involving US warships raised serious concerns about the safety of such “freedom of navigation” operations. In August 2017, for instance, the USS John S McCain, a destroyer, collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, resulting in 10 fatalities.
China opposes U.S. provocation in its territorial waters: spokesperson
China on Sunday voiced strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to two U.S. warships trespassing into China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands.
Source：People's Daily Online Editor：lirui
(Source_title：Washington provokes Beijing in the South China Sea at its own peril)