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Tension flares in South China Sea as Beijing claims US Navy ship ‘illegally intruded’ into waters

According to a statement from the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater, a Chinese naval force was mobilised to track the USS Gabrielle Giffords during the operation. The US Navy did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Ajeet Kumar Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Beijing Published on: December 04, 2023 13:16 IST
American naval ship “illegally intruded” into waters near the Second Thomas Shoal.
Image Source : AP/FILE American naval ship “illegally intruded” into waters near the Second Thomas Shoal.

Even though the Biden administration and the Chinese government have been engaging on a personal level to ease differences, Beijing on Monday, claimed that an American naval ship had “illegally intruded” into waters near the Second Thomas Shoal. Notably, the latest development came at the site of a hot territorial dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

According to a statement from the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater, a Chinese naval force was mobilised to track the USS Gabrielle Giffords during the operation. The US Navy did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Chinese and Philippine naval and coast guard ships have confronted each other repeatedly around the Second Thomas Shoal in recent months as China tries to prevent the Philippines from resupplying and repairing a rusting warship that it intentionally ran aground in 1999 to serve as a military outpost.

Dwarfed by China's military might, the Philippines has sought America's help, agreeing to an expansion of the US military presence in the country earlier this year and launching joint sea and air patrols with the United States late last month.

US is meddling in waters: China 

China says the US is meddling in waters far from its shores and renewed its accusation that America is the one raising regional tensions following the sailing of the USS Giffords, a littoral combat ship designed to operate in coastal areas, near Second Thomas Shoal.

“The US deliberately disrupted the situation in the South China Sea, seriously violated China's sovereignty and security, seriously undermined regional peace and stability, and seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, fully demonstrating that the US is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the statement from the Chinese military's Southern Theater said.

China has staked claim to virtually all of the reefs and other outcroppings in the South China Sea, building some into islands with runways that could be used by the military. Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also say they are the rightful owners of territory in the same waters in a complex web of overlapping claims.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Dozens of Chinese ships chase Philippine vessels as US renews warning

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