US guided-missile destroyer challenges China’s claim in South China Sea

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United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85) conducted a freedom of navigation operation within 12-nautical miles of Chinese-held features in Paracel Islands in South China Sea on January 7.

Features in Paracel Islands are being claimed by Vietnam, China, and Taiwan.

The operation was also confirmed by Chinese government.

“On January 7, the USS McCampbell entered China’s territorial seas around Xisha Islands without permission from the Chinese side. The Chinese side immediately sent military vessel and aircraft to conduct verification and identification on the US ship and warned it to leave. We have lodged stern representations with the US side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

The Chinese spokesperson said the action by the US vessel violated Chinese laws and relevant international laws, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, and undermined peace, security and order of the relevant waters.

“The Chinese side firmly opposes the relevant action by the US side and urges the US to immediately stop such provocations. We will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard our national sovereignty and security,” he added.