China rages US Navy warship ‘illegally intruded’ into South China Sea waters as row erupts

The Chinese military has accused a US Navy ship of “illegally” intruding into waters in the South China Sea on Monday.

The incident occurred near the Second Thomas Shoal, the site of a territorial dispute between China and the Philippines.

The Chinese Navy then mobilised to track the ship in question – the USS Gabrielle Giffords – according to a statement from the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater.

The USS Giffords is a littoral combat ship designed to operate in coastal areas near Second Thomas Shoal.

The Second Thomas Shoal has been the site of repeated confrontations between Chinese and Philippine naval and coast guard ships in recent months.

This comes as China tries to prevent the Philippines from resupplying and repairing a rusting warship that it intentionally ran aground in 1999 to serve as a military outpost.

The statement from the Chinese military’s Southern Theater said: “The U.S. deliberately disrupted the situation in the South China Sea, seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, seriously undermined regional peace and stability, and seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, fully demonstrating that the US is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

China lays claim to virtually all of the reefs and other outcroppings in the South China Sea, and has built some into islands with runways for the military.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also claim to own terriotries in the same waters, making the issue even more complex.

The Philippines’ military is dwarfed by China’s and so America has helped the country by expanding its military presence in it earlier this year and launching joint sea and air patrols last month.

China believes the US to be meddling in waters far from its shored and has once again accused the nation of heightening regional tensions by sailing the USS Gabrielle Giffords.

SOURCE

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