The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed “strong discontent” and “resolute opposition” over a US warship patrol near Zhubi Reef, which is part of China’s Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.
This action by the United States threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangers the safety of personnel and facilities in the reef, and harms regional peace and stability, ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.
Lu urged the US to “immediately correct its wrongdoing.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the US warship USS Lassen entered waters near Zhubi Reef without the permission of the Chinese government, according to Lu.
The US warship was monitored, tracked and issued with warning, said the spokesperson, adding that China will continue to watch the situation and “do whatever is necessary.”
Stressing that China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters is “irrefutable,” Lu said China is prepared to respond to any deliberate provocation by any country.
China respects other countries’ freedom of navigation in accordance with international law, Lu said, however, China is firmly opposed to any action that harms China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom.
The construction activities undertaken by China on its own territory is an internal affair and will not block the legal freedom of other countries, the spokesperson said.
The US side should remember its commitment that it would take no position on territorial disputes, as this would damage China-US ties and regional peace, said Lu.
Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in response to a question on the US Navy’s intention at a seminar, warned the US not to “make trouble out of nothing.”
“If it is true, we advise the US to think twice before it takes any action,” he said, urging them “not to act in an imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing.”