The Chinese Navy drives away a US destroyer in the South China Sea. Photo/Illustration
BEIJING – A spokesperson for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said the military had expelled a United States (US) warship near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. He called Washington a “security risk maker” as well as the biggest destroyer” of peace and stability in the region.
“The violation of China’s territorial waters by the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper seriously endangers Beijing’s sovereignty, once again proving that Washington is pursuing navigational hegemony and militarization in the South China Sea,” said PLA Southern Theater Command spokesman Senior Colonel Tian Junli as quoted by RT , Sunday (26/11/2023).
Chinese news agency CGTN reported that Beijing’s military deployed air and naval forces to follow and monitor the US warship said to be an intruder and expel it according to law.
The Pentagon has not issued a statement regarding the incident.
The Xisha Islands are a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, which is de facto ruled by China. Known internationally as the Paracel Islands, the islands are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
Washington does not recognize China’s sovereignty over the islands and has repeatedly called them “unlawful” and posing a “serious threat to freedom of the seas.”
Similar incidents with American warships caught without permission near the Paracel Islands have also occurred before. The destroyer USS Milius was “warned” to stay away from the region by the Chinese Navy in March this year, while the USS Benfold was driven away twice in 2022.