China says USA trespassed its waters with warship

China says US warship near Panatag violated 'sovereignty'

Beijing on Saturday said it had dispatched a warship to drive away a US missile destroyer which had "violated" its sovereignty by sailing close to a shoal in the disputed South China Sea.

The U.S. vessel "violated China's sovereignty and security interests", and put the safety of nearby Chinese vessels "under grave threat", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Wu said a Chinese missile destroyer had to drive off the USS Hopper, a US guided missile destroyer, after the ship ventured near Huangyan Island, which is near the western coast of the Philippines. "China is strongly dissatisfied with that and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty".

However, the statement continued: "The United States has repeatedly sent warships illegally into the adjacent waters of the South China Sea islands and reefs".

The U.S. Navy periodically conducts freedom of navigation operations, or FONOPs, near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing has disputed this claim, saying the militarization of the outposts has been for self-defense purposes. On Tuesday, Brian Hook, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, accused Beijing of breaking global law by pushing around smaller states as it militarizes the South China Sea.

"We urge the United States to respect the facts, speak and act cautiously to avoid harming the peace and stability of the South China Sea", China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a news briefing last January. Manila said Scarborough Shoal lay within its exclusive economic zone while China's claim was based on its nine-dash line covering the entire South China Sea.


China seized Huangyan from the Philippines in 2012.

Just over a year ago, a US Navy plane and a Chinese surveillance aircraft flew within 300 metres (1,000 feet) of each other near the Scarborough Shoal. China increasingly is making claims over much of the region and has been creating manmade islands fortified with missile defenses.

The Philippines and China are both claiming sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal.

The US military says it carries out "freedom of navigation" operations throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations. "Not all ops have been reported". "The Philippines' claim over Scarborough Shoal is recognized under our constitutional law and worldwide law", Roque said. "Those are excessive maritime claims that FONOPs are meant to challenge".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has revived once-frosty relations with China since taking power in 2016 and often criticizes US security policies.

"China is unlikely to dredge at Scarborough Shoal in the near term", Glaser said.

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