According to a written statement by Air Force Senior Colonel Tian Junli, spokesperson for the Chinese PLA Southern Theater Command, the US guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold trespassed into China’s territorial waters of the Xisha Islands on July 12 without Chinese government’s permission. As a response, the naval and air forces of the PLA Southern Theater Command conducted tracking and monitoring on the US destroyer and warned it to leave.
The spokesperson pointed out that the Xisha Islands are China’s inherent territory, and the US military’s behavior has seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, and gravely undermined the regional peace and stability of the South China Sea. “The US action seriously goes against the international law and basic norms governing international relations, which is yet another ironclad proof that the United States has been pursuing navigation hegemony and creating militarization of the South China Sea. Facts have proved that the US is in every sense a ‘security risk maker in the South China Sea’, ”the spokesperson continued.
The spokesperson stressed that China strongly condemns and firmly opposes this and urges the US side to stop provocations of this kind and strictly control its military activities in the air and at sea. “Otherwise, all consequences arising there from will be borne by the US side,” the spokesperson warned.
The troops assigned to the PLA Southern Theater Command will always stay on high alert, firmly safeguard China’s national sovereignty and security, and protect the peace and stability in the South China Sea, said the spokesperson in the end of the written statement.