Beijing, May 11: Conflicts aroused between US and China when U.S. Navy on Tuesday sent a guided missile destroyer within 12 miles of a disputed island in the South China Sea where China has built an airstrip which prompt China to scramble fighter jets and dispatch warships to expel the American ship.
“The USS William P. Lawrence destroyer illegally entered waters near the relevant reef of China's Nansha Islands. Relevant department on the Chinese side monitored, followed and issued warnings to the US vessel in accordance with law”, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang.
“I must say that what the US warship has done threatened China's sovereignty and security interests, endangered safety of personnel and facilities on the reef, and jeopardized regional peace and stability. Again, we oppose such move by the US side and will continue to take necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and security”, he added.
He pointed out that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. For a long time, the freedom of navigation and overflight in the region has been upheld thanks to the cooperative and concerted efforts by China and relevant coastal countries in the South China Sea. In fact, the freedom of navigation and overflight and the passage of vessels of all countries have never met any obstacle.
The unauthorized entry by the U.S. warship into waters near China's Nansha Islands (which China calls the Spratlys) was an act of serious provocation," Senior Col. Yang Yujun, spokesman for China's Defense Ministry, said. The South China Sea is the subject of several rival -- and often messy -- territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing the sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.
On the other hand, Pentagon statement said,USS William P. Lawrence exercised the right of innocent passage while transiting inside 12 nautical miles of Fiery Cross Reef, a high-tide feature that is occupied by China, but also claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.