Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

China Protests US Navy Sailing near South China Sea Claims

China Protests US Navy Sailing near South China Sea Claims

A US Navy destroyer conducted a "freedom of navigation" operation near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday, two defense officials told CNN.

Three U.S. military officials told Reuters the USS Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, carried out normal maneuvering operations to challenge "excessive maritime claims" in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The US "stirs up trouble" and runs "in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development", a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the time.

"We demand the USA side earnestly take steps to correct its mistakes", the ministry said in a statement. In August, the USS John S. McCain sailed within 12 nautical miles of a man-made Chinese island, signalling the USA did not recognize Beijing's territorial claims there. In the past year, the Navy has conducted several operations to challenge Beijing's stance.

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Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory, and China announced the baseline of territorial waters off these islands in 1996, according to Hua.

China immediately dispatched military vessels and tried to challenge the entry of the United States destroyer, local reports said.

"China is firmly opposed to that and has lodged stern presentations with the US", Hua said, using the term for official diplomatic protests. She further said that the ship also undermined China's sovereignty and security interests.

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