China tells US to stop provocative operations in West PHL Sea

“The Chinese side strongly urges the US side to immediately stop provocative operations that violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security and faithfully respect the regional countries’ concerted efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

The statement was released after United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG-89) conducted a freedom of navigation operation near Mischief Reef in West Philippine Sea on March 23.

“The Chinese Navy has identified and verified the US warship and warned it to leave in accordance with the law,” Hua Chunying said.

“The relevant act of the US side has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, undermined peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation,” she added.

She said China has indisputable sovereignty over Spratly Islands and its adjacent waters.

“The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary measures to defend its national sovereignty and security and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” she said.

The Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its July 2016 Award, “found that Mischief Reef lies within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines.”

“The Tribunal now turns to the Philippines’ Submission that China, through its occupation and construction activities, has unlawfully attempted to appropriate Mischief Reef,” the Arbitral Tribunal said.

“The Tribunal finds that China has, through its construction of installations and artificial islands at Mischief Reef without the authorisation of the Philippines, breached Articles 60 and 80 of the Convention with respect to the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. The Tribunal further finds that, as a low-tide elevation, Mischief Reef is not capable of appropriation,” the tribunal said.