China denounced that a US Navy ship “illegally intruded” on Monday into waters near the Second Thomas Shoal, the site of a territorial dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.
A Chinese naval force was called in to track the USS Gabrielle Giffords, according to a statement from the Southern Theater of Operations of the People’s Liberation Army. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet stated that the ship “carried out routine operations in international waters… in accordance with international law”.
Naval and coast guard vessels from China and the Philippines have clashed several times in that area, near the Spratly Islands, in recent months, as China tries to prevent the Philippines from repairing and shipping supplies to an old warship that was intentionally run aground there in 1999. to convert it into a military post.
Outmatched by Chinese military might, the Philippines has asked the United States for help in its multiple territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. agreed to an increase in the US military presence in the country and launched joint air and naval patrols with the United States last month.
China accuses the United States of meddling in affairs far from its territory and reiterated that Washington is the one that is aggravating regional tensions by dispatching the USS Giffords near the Second Thomas Shoal. The Giffords is a combat ship designed to operate in coastal areas.
“The United States deliberately complicated the situation in the South China Sea, seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, seriously undermined regional peace and security, and seriously violated international law and basic norms on international relations, fully demonstrating that the United States “United States is the greatest threat to peace and security in the South China Sea.”says the statement from the Southern Theater of the Chinese army.