South China Sea: China has been arguing about the entire South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, while its neighbors, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei, have competing disputes over islands and dunes.
China on Wednesday deployed warplanes and cracked down on the U.S. after a frontline American warship sailed across a reef near the disputed Spratly Islands in the world’s South China Sea (SCS). The busiest sea trade routes.
The US Navy’s destroyer, USS Benfold, sailed across the MMischief Reef on Wednesday near the Spratly Islands, also known as Nansha in China, as part of Phonop (Freedom of Navigation Operation).
Beijing claims almost the entire SCS, including the Spratly Islands, but its neighbors include competing claims over the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Brunei Islands and dunes.
The ring-shaped Mischief Reef is located 250 kilometers off the coast of the Philippines.
In 2017, China reportedly built several military organizations, including the Mischief Reef, to effectively strengthen its claim.
Warships from the U.S. Navy often sail near disputed islands, drawing sharp criticism from China.
“On September 8, USS Benfold (DDG 65) upheld navigation rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands in accordance with international law. This FONOP upheld the rights, freedoms, and legitimate uses of the sea. Proved to be ineligible for territorial waters, ”said Lt. Mark Longford, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, 7th Fleet, U.S. Department of Defense.
“The U.S. is engaged in ‘normal operations’ within 12 nautical miles of the Mischief Reef, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention, which, according to international law, does not qualify for territorial waters, such as the Mischief Reef, which sinks at high tides in the naturally formed state. Installations and structures do not change this feature under international law.
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By engaging in normal operations within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, the United States proved that ships in those areas could legally exercise greater maritime freedom, Lieutenant Longford said in a statement.
“These missions are law-abiding and demonstrate our commitment to upholding the guaranteed maritime and air rights, freedoms, and legitimate uses of all nations.”
“Freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea is part of the day-to-day operations of the U.S. military in the region,” the statement said.
The People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) has issued a strong statement against US warship movements in the Southern Theater Command (STC) SCS.
Command spokesman Tian Junli said the operation was carried out without the approval of the Chinese government.
The PLA Air Force conducted further surveillance and issued a warning to the warship. “America’s gross violation of China’s sovereignty and security is another iron framework for its aggressive navigation dominance and militarization of the South China Sea,” Tian Junli said.
He said the facts repeatedly prove that the United States is the “South China Sea security risk maker” and “the biggest destroyer” for peace and stability in the SCS.
Theater Command is “vigilant and will take all necessary steps to fulfill its duty to safeguard national sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability in the region,” Tian Junli said.