• By The Financial District

U.S. LAUGHS OFF CHINA CLAIM IT ‘EXPELLED’ U.S. NAVY WARSHIP IN PARACELS

China said on Thursday that a US Navy ship had illegally entered its territorial waters in the South China Sea and was expelled, which the US said was false as the ship sailed unchallenged past the Paracel Islands, which China claims as its own.

In a statement, the Chinese military's Southern Theater Command said the USS Curtis Wilbur entered the waters near the Paracel Islands without permission, adding that its ships and planes followed the US vessel out. It said the US action violated China's sovereignty and undermined regional peace and stability.


However, the US Navy's 7th Fleet said the vessel "asserted navigational rights and freedoms" near the Paracel Islands, over which China, Taiwan, and Vietnam all claim sovereignty. The fleet stressed that, as usual, the Chinese military's comments were laughable, Reuters reported.


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"USS Curtis Wilbur was not 'expelled' from any nation's territory," it said. "USS Curtis Wilbur conducted this Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in accordance with international law and then continued on to conduct normal operations in international waters."


The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the US, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters.


US warships have passed through the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, in a show of force against the Chinese claims. On Tuesday, the USS Curtis Wilbur had sailed through the Taiwan Strait, angering China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory.


"USS Curtis Wilbur was not 'expelled' from any nation's territory," it said. "USS Curtis Wilbur conducted this Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in accordance with international law and then continued on to conduct normal operations in international waters."


The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the US, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters.


US warships have passed through the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, in a show of force against the Chinese claims. On Tuesday, the USS Curtis Wilbur had sailed through the Taiwan Strait, angering China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory.



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