Beijing: China on Tuesday expressed “resolute opposition” to a US warship patrol in the South China Sea.
The US warship, USS William P. Lawrence, “illegally entered” China’s waters near the Nansha islands on Tuesday without the permission of the Chinese government, Xinhua news agency reported citing Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.
He added that the warship was monitored, tracked and issued a warning.
Bill Urban, the spokesman for US Department of Defence, has said the freedom of navigation operation was in direct challenge to “excessive maritime claims of some claimants in the South China Sea”.
“The action by the US threatens China’s sovereignty and security, endangers the safety of people and facilities on the reef, and harms regional peace and stability,” Lu said.
“China strongly opposes such action by the US and will continue to take measures to safeguard our sovereignty and security,” Lu said, adding that China and other coastal states in the South China Sea have been working together to keep navigation and overflight free in the South China Sea for a long time.
Lu said the flexing of US military muscle in the name of freedom of navigation is “the biggest threat to peace and stability in the area”.