China chases away US cruiser near Spratly Islands: Beijing

The Chinese military says it has chased away a US Navy guided-missile cruiser after it “illegally intruded” into waters in the vicinity of the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands.

According to Press TV, on Tuesday, Tian Junli, Spokesman for the Southern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army said that the guided-missile cruiser, the USS Chancellorsville, “illegally entered the waters near China’s Nansha Islands and reefs without the approval of the Chinese government.”

China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil and gas.

The Spratly Islands, known as Nansha Islands in China, lie at the heart of the South China Sea territorial dispute.

“The actions of the US military seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security,” added Tian, stressing that the US is a “security risk maker” in the area.

He also said that the sailing by the USS Chancellorsville had been “another iron-clad proof of its hegemony in the navigation and militarization of the South China Sea.”

In response, the US Navy claimed that the Chinese statement was “false,” calling it “the latest in a long string of PRC actions to misrepresent lawful US maritime operations.”

The United States routinely sends its warships and warplanes to the South China Sea to assert what it calls a right to freedom of navigation.

China has always warned the US against military activities in the sea. Beijing says potential close military encounters between the air and naval forces of the two countries in the region may spark a larger conflict.

US naval forces also conduct such maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait, which considers the sailings as a sign of support for the self-governed island territory of Chinese Taipei, the sovereign territory of China.

Back on August 28, the USS Chancellorsville sailed through the Taiwan Strait, drawing the ire of China.

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