BEIJING, March 30. /TASS/. The US Armed Forces must stop provoking China in the South China Sea, otherwise they will bear responsibility for any potential incidents, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Tan Kefei warned on Thursday.
The comment was Tan’s response to a US Navy vessel that allegedly sailed near the China-controlled Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
"We sternly demand that the United States immediately stop such provocations, otherwise it will bear full responsibility for all the serious consequences of their causing a potential incident," the Chinese Defense Ministry quoted him as saying on WeChat.
"The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to protect national sovereignty and security and will resolutely defend peace and stability in the South China Sea," Tan assured.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius passed near the Paracel Islands last Friday. China’s top brass claimed that the US warship did this without the Chinese government’s permission and had violated China’s sovereignty. The US 7th Fleet replied by saying in a news release that the US destroyer had acted in line with international law, while conducting a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP).
Beijing has disputed the territorial jurisdiction of some islands in the South China Sea where large hydrocarbon reserves were found with Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia. The most disputed territories are the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, the Nansha or Spratly Islands and Huangyan Island (Scarborough Reef).