The United States announced on Monday that a guided missile destroyer sailed into waters near some islands in the South China Sea that Beijing disputes with countries in the area, in full escalation of tensions from high-intensity Chinese military exercises around Taiwan.
According to a statement released by the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Milius was “close” to the Spratly Islands, which China disputes with the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, in an exercise in defense of “freedom of navigation”. consistent with international law”.
The text added that the ship performed “normal operations” in twelve nautical miles, the limit established by the UN to designate the sovereignty of a state in maritime territories.
“Illegitimate claims in the South China Sea mean a serious threat to the freedom of navigation“Adds the US statement, in a veiled reference to Beijing.
The US destroyer shipment arrives amid escalating tensions between China and the US, with Beijing ending wide-ranging military exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for Wednesday’s meeting in California (USA) between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Similarly, Taiwan, an autonomous island that Beijing does not rule out invading, and the South China Sea, rich in natural resources and almost entirely claimed by China, have been the target of the United States in the recent agreement with the Philippines to expand a commercial Defense that allows its troops to operate from four new military bases in the Asian archipelago.
Philippine authorities revealed the location of these new bases a week ago, including two within 400 kilometers of Taiwan and another facing the disputed South China Sea.
The condemnation of China
The Chinese military, in a statement published on the Ministry of Defense website, condemned the passage of the American destroyer USS Milius through the Mischief Reef. Despite this, he arranged for warplanes carrying “live munitions” to carry out “simulated attacks” near Taiwan.
“The guided missile destroyer USS Milius has illegally entered the waters adjacent to Meiji Reef in China’s Nansha Islands without the approval of the Chinese government,” Tian Junli, spokesman for the Chinese military’s southern theater command, said in a statement.
According to Tian, the PLA’s Southern Theater of Operations was organized “naval and air forces to track and warn” the vessel of the American war.
The spokesman said China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the islands in the South China Sea and adjacent waters.
China on Saturday announced the military exercises as “a serious warning” against “provocation by separatist forces” and a “necessary action to protect China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Countries such as Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia or Taiwan contest sovereignty of the South China Sea with Beijing.
In this region, through which one third of world trade circulates, there are important deposits of gas, oil and fishing grounds.
With information from agencies.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.