Beijing : In a scathing attack, China today accused the US of making provocating attempts to infringe on its sovereignty by sabotaging regional peace and militarising the waters.
In a commentary against the involvement of the US in SCS, state-run Xinhua news agency said the US Navy is reportedly preparing to conduct “freedom of navigation” operations, sending warships within 12 nautical miles of the disputed islands in the SCS claimed by China.
“Let us not forget that in October 1962, when the Soviet Union was building missile sites in Cuba — not even on US soil — US President Kennedy made it clear in a televised speech that the US would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place,” it said. “What on earth makes the United States think China should and will tolerate it when US surface ships trespass on Chinese territory in the South China Sea?,” it said. “China will never tolerate any military provocation or infringement on sovereignty from the United States or any other country, just as the United States refused to 53 years ago,” it said. The commentary pointed to recent remarks by US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter that American “will fly, sail and operate wherever the international law allows, as we do around the world.” White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said on October 8 that US warships patrolling close to artificial islands built by China in the SCS, “should not provoke significant reaction from the Chinese.”
The hard-hitting commentary by Xinhua comes on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations meet being hosted by China here since yesterday to tone down their opposition to Beijing’s claims over almost of all of SCS. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei which are all members of ASEAN firmly opposed to China’s claims over the SCS with firm backing from the US. Just as Article 15 of UNCLOS stipulates, delimiting the territorial seas of China and other countries in SCS shall be in accordance with China’s “historic title” to the region, the Xinhua commentary said.
China’s construction of civilian and public facilities on the Nansha Islands and reefs, which fall within the scope of China’s sovereignty, serves not only China but also coastal nations in the SCS, it added. “Contrary to US claims, it will be the United States, as an outsider, that further provokes tensions in the South China Sea by sending soldiers and warships to Chinese territory in the name of freedom of navigation,” it said.