BEIJING, November 29. /TASS/. The US guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville intruded into waters near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea without any Chinese permission, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command Tian Junli said on Tuesday.
"The actions of the US military seriously violated China's sovereignty and security," the Chinese Defense Ministry quoted him as saying on its official channel on Wechat. According to Tian, the intrusion is more "iron-clad proof of its [the US] hegemony in the navigation and militarization of the South China Sea."
According to the statement, the PLA’s Navy and Air Force took measures to drive the US missile cruiser away.
The US Seventh Fleet said the Chinese statement was "false." "USS Chancellorsville conducted this FONOP in accordance with international law and then continued on to conduct normal operations in waters where high seas freedoms apply. <…> The United States is defending every nation's right to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows," the US Navy argued.
Beijing has disputed the territorial jurisdiction of some islands in the South China Sea where large hydrocarbon reserves were found with Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines for decades. The most disputed territories are the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, the Nansha or Spratly Islands and the Huangyan Island (Scarborough Reef). The tensions have somewhat subsided in recent years thanks to multilateral efforts, including cooperation between China and ASEAN. The Chinese authorities have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the provocative actions of the United States which, they warn, may trigger a new escalation and harm the situation in the region.