US Navy Hits Back After China Accuses It of Having ‘Illegally Intruded’

US Navy Hits Back After China Accuses It of Having ‘Illegally Intruded’

CORRECTION, Dec. 7, 2023: It was the U.S. Navy that responded to the Chinese claim about the South China Sea incident. An earlier version of this article indicated a different organization.

The U.S. Navy turned aside China’s squawking over a recent incident in the South China Sea.

China claimed a Navy ship “illegally intruded” into the vast areas of the South China Sea that it claims are rightfully its, a claim disputed by multiple nations including the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

During the incident, the littoral combat ship the USS Gabrielle Giffords patrolled in the waters near the Second Thomas Shoal, an atoll whose ownership is in dispute, according to Reuters.

“The U.S. 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 U.S. is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the Chinese military’s Southern Theater said, according to Fox News.

A Chinese military spokesperson said the American vessel was followed, adding that China’s “troops in the theater are on high alert at all times to resolutely defend national sovereignty,” according to Reuters.

The Navy said it keeps the seas open for everyone.

“Every day the U.S. 7th Fleet operates in the South China Sea, as they have for decades,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement. “These operations demonstrate we are committed to upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

“We will not be deterred from continuing to work alongside our allies and partners in support of our shared vision for a free and open Indo-pacific,” the Navy said.

“The United States upholds freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle,” the Navy said in a November statement after a “freedom of navigation” exercise in the South China Sea near where the most recent incident took place.

“As long as some countries continue to claim and assert limits on rights that exceed their authority under international law, the United States will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the sea guaranteed to all. No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms,” the Navy said.

“U.S. forces operate in the South China Sea on a daily basis, as they have for more than a century. They routinely operate in close coordination with like-minded allies and partners that share our commitment to uphold a free and open international order that promotes security and prosperity,” the Navy added.

The Navy noted China will not tell it what to do.

 “The operations demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows – regardless of the location of excessive maritime claims and regardless of current events,” the statement said.

China claims that it owns the South China Sea, even though a 2016 ruling from the United Nations refuted that claim, according to NBC.

Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all have claims in the region that conflict with those of China.

The UN ruling said that the Second Thomas Shoal is in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. It ran an old warship aground in the area to serve as a military outpost.

Over the weekend, the Philippines deployed two of its coast guard vessels to another disputed reef.

China said the reef was its property, and that the Chinese fishing vessels in the area were conducting “reasonable and lawful” operations.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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