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China accuses the US of “inciting” tensions in the South China Sea

THE China’s military today accused the US of “deliberately stoking” tensions in the South China Seabecause they sent a warship to sail, “illegally” according to him, in waters claimed by Beijing.

Earlier today, an American Littoral Combat Ship, USS Gabrielle Giffords, “illegally entered waters near the Ren’ai Reef, in China’s Nansha region, without the approval of the Chinese government,” said Tian Chunli, a spokesman for the Southern Command of the Chinese armed forces.

The Second Thomas Reef, known as Ren’ai in China, is about 200 kilometers from Palawan Island in the western Philippines and more than 1,000 kilometers from the nearest Chinese territory, Hainan Island.

The Chinese military “monitored the entire operation,” Tian Chunli said.

“The US’s deliberate rekindling of the South China Sea is a serious blow to China’s national sovereignty and security,” as well as “regional peace and stability,” he warned.

Chinese forces in the region remain “constantly on high alert, resolutely defend national sovereignty and national security”he added.

Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, including waters, islands and islets off its neighbours’ coasts, defying a ruling by an international court (2016) that ruled its claims lacked legal basis.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim reefs and islets in this maritime area. Certain areas of it may have rich oil deposits at their bottom.

China has increased its patrols of the waters and reefs of the South China Sea over the past decade and has built artificial islands that it has militarized to bolster its position.

The Philippines, for its part, ran aground the BRP Sierra Madre, a World War II-era warship, on Second Thomas Reef to bolster its own claim to sovereignty after China seized the nearby Mischief Reef in the mid- 1990. There are frequent incidents in the area between Filipino fishermen and the Chinese Coast Guard.

Source: News Beast

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