BEIJING, October 27. /TASS/. Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui has summoned US Ambassador to Beijing Max Baucus and lodged a protest with US ship’s passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea, China Central Television reported on Tuesday.
"Despite repeated recent statements and multiple requests by the Chinese side, US sent its military ship USS Lassen to the reefs near China’s Nansha Islands thus creating a threat to China’s sovereignty and security, as well as to security of people and infrastructure on the reefs. This is a serious provocation toward China. The Chinese side expresses strong displeasure and decisive protest to the actions of the American side," the vice minister said. He added that China’s sovereignty over the islands and surrounding waters is undisputable.
US sent guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen to patrol the 12-nautical mile zone around Subi and Mischief reefs in Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea.
Beijing has for decades been involved in a dispute with many countries in the region over the territorial jurisdiction of a number of islands in the South China Sea, where significant reserves of hydrocarbons have been found. This refers, above all, to the Xisha archipelago (the Paracel Islands), the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands) and Huangyan Island. Other countries involved in the dispute are Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. As of the end of 2013, China has been engaged in large-scale hydro-engineering and construction work on the expansion and development of the territories under its control.