China protests at U.S. warship's violation

China protests at U.S. warship's violation

China protests at U.S. warship's violation

China has lodged a strong protest against the United States over the entry of an American warship in the South China Sea.

"The US destroyer's behavior violated Chinese law and relevant worldwide law, severely harmed China's sovereignty and security interests, and threatened the lives of military personnel of both sides", ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.

"China sent military vessels and planes to investigate and identify the USA military ship and warned it to leave", Hua said at a regular news briefing.

"The US vessel action violated Chinese laws and relevant worldwide laws, undermined China's sovereignty and security interests", she said.

The destroyer, however, did not violate the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands, according to a Reuters report, citing U.S. military officials.

The disputed Paracel Islands consist of a group of islands, reefs and shoals presently controlled and occupied by the People's Republic of China but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

"We demand the USA side earnestly take steps to correct its mistakes", the ministry said in a statement.

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The Chinese Defense Ministry denounced the operation as a "provocation" and said it was "firmly opposed to such flaunting of force and promotion of militarization in the region by the USA, which could easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air".

Next month, Trump makes his first visit to Asia as president, including a stop in China, which he has been pressuring to do more to rein in North Korea.

Twelve nautical miles mark internationally recognized territorial limits.

China's Foreign Ministry has also urged the USA to "respect the sovereignty and security" of the country and stop such "erroneous acts".

China, in turn, has accused the United States of illegally trespassing into what it sees as its territorial waters.

The incident comes as US officials are pressing China to use more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to prevent further military escalation in the region.

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