China condemns US warship move

China has condemned the US after an American warship sailed near one of China’s islands in the hotly-contested South China Sea to exercise freedom of navigation and challenge Beijing’s vast territorial claims.

The missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, in the Paracel chain, “to challenge excessive maritime claims of parties that claim the Paracel Islands”, without notifying the three claimants beforehand, said defence department spokesman Mark Wright.

China, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the Paracels, and require prior notice from ships transitting what they consider their territorial waters.

China defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the US action “severely violated Chinese law, sabotaged the peace, security and good order of the waters, and undermined the region’s peace and stability”.

According to Yang, Chinese troops on the island, and navy vessels and warplanes, took action immediately, identified the US warship and “warned and expelled it swiftly.”

He said the US operation was “very unprofessional, and irresponsible for the safety of the troops of both sides, and may cause extremely dangerous consequences”. Chinese armed forces would take whatever measures “necessary to safeguard China’s sovereignty and security, no matter what provocations the US side may take”, he added.

Meanwhile, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Moscow that it will “endure the consequences” if its jets continued to enter his country’s airspace, after Ankara reported a new border-infringement incident by a Russian plane.

Turkey, a Nato member, said another Russian warplane breached its airspace on Friday, despite several warnings — two months after Turkey shot down a Russian jet for crossing over its territory.

Erdogan said. “If Russia continues the violations of Turkey’s sovereign rights, it will be forced to endure the consequences.”


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