China scrambles fighter jets as United States destroyer sails near disputed islands

US Navy Destroyer Sails Near Islands Claimed by China in South China Sea

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

The US Navy missile destroyer Chafee entered China's territorial waters near the islands on Tuesday and conducted a so-called "freedom of navigation" operation, without the permission of the Chinese government, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said yesterday.

The Chinese spokesperson said the USA warship violated Chinese and worldwide laws and seriously threatened China's sovereignty and security.

Three U.S. military officials told Reuters the USS Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, carried out normal maneuvering operations to challenge "excessive maritime claims" in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.




The incident with the USS "Chafee" would affect trust between the militaries of the two countries, the ministry stated, adding that further operations of such nature might trigger "unwanted incidents".

"We demand the USA side earnestly take steps to correct its mistakes", it added. Sailing within that range is meant to show the United States does not recognize territorial claims. "China urges the U.S.to conscientiously respect China's sovereign territory and security interests, conscientiously respect the efforts regional countries have made to protect peace and stability in the South China Sea, and stop these wrong actions". Beijing accuses the U.S. of violating its sovereignty, while Washington claims the missions support "freedom of navigation" in the region.

Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory, and China announced the baseline of territorial waters off these islands in 1996, according to Hua.

According to the data compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of Chinese people arriving South Korea for medical purposes declined 24.7 percent on-year during the January-June period.

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