“China urges the US to immediately stop provocations, strictly manage and control its maritime and air military operations, strictly restrain the behaviors of its front-line naval and air forces, so as to avoid any contingency,” Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command spokesperson Senior Colonel Li Huamin said in a statement August 28.
The Chinese military spokesperson made the statement after United States Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) conducted a freedom of navigation operation in Paracel Islands in South China Sea on August 27.
Li said China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, adding that the troops of the PLA Southern Theater Command will always stay on high alert and resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and security and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea.
The US Pacific Fleet said the US Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) to contest excessive maritime claims and reinforce laws of the sea in international waters.
“USS Mustin, based in Yokosuka, Japan, conducted the FONOP in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands to ensure critical shipping lanes in the area remain free and open,” the US Navy said.