BEIJING, Jan. 20 -- The US guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold trespassed into China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands without Chinese government’s permission on January 20. The naval and air forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command conducted tracking and monitoring on the US destroyer and warned it off. The Chinese military expresses strong dissatisfaction with and resolute opposition to the behavior of the US side, said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND) today.
Wu pointed out that the Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory. According to the Law of the People’ s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government announced the baselines of the territorial waters of the Xisha Islands in 1996 , and also made clear stipulations on matters related to the entry of foreign warships into China's territorial waters.
The US warship’s trespassing into China's territorial waters is not the "freedom of navigation" at all as it claims, but a serious provocation that violates China's sovereignty and endangers peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wu stressed.
The defense spokesperson urged the US side to correctly understand the situation and immediately stop such provocative actions. China’s territorial waters are by no means where the US warships can run amok, and the Chinese military will take all necessary measures to deal with all threats and provocations, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security, and firmly protect regional peace and stability, Wu reaffirmed.