China military said on Monday it “drove away” a US warship that illegally entered Chinese waters near the Paracel Islands on Monday, the anniversary of an international court ruling that Beijing has no claim over the South China Sea.
The USS Benfold entered the waters of the Paracels without the approval of the Chinese government, seriously violating China’s sovereignty and undermining the stability of the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army’s Southern Theatre Command said.
“We urge the United States to immediately stop such provocative actions,” the Southern Theatre Command said in a statement. The U.S. Navy did not immediately comment.
The Paracels are among hundreds of islands, reefs and atolls in the resources-rich South China Sea contested by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, with Beijing claiming historic rights to resources within its so-called nine-dash line, or most of the region.
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