China said its military chased out a US naval destroyer, after the United States said it would continue to assert “navigational rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands,” where Beijing has built an airstrip and other man-made structures.
The Spratlys Islands is near the Philippines’ territorial waters.
Chinese military spokesman Tian Junli said Tuesday the People’s Liberation Army’s southern command deployed ships and aircraft to warn and drive out the USS John S. McCain, China’s state media said.
“The Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) on Tuesday expelled US destroyer USS John S. McCain after it trespassed into China’s territorial waters off Nansha Islands in the South China Sea,” Tian said, according a daily in India.
“Such actions by the United States have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security and severely undermined peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the Chinese official added.
On Tuesday, the US Navy in statement the McCain transited through the South China Sea to “uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea.”
“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas,” the US Seventh Fleet said.
“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant,” it added.The Navy also named China among claimants of the disputed Spratly Islands who “require permission or advance notification before a foreign military vessel engages in ‘innocent passage’.” SOVEREIGNPH