China ‘kept close eye on US vessel’

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China says it closely followed the activities of a US warship that entered waters near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said “relevant authorities” monitored, followed and warned the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, as it “illegally” sailed near islands and reefs in Nansha Islands, known as Spratly to Beijing’s rivals, without the government’s permission a day earlier.

Beijing “will resolutely respond to any country’s deliberate provocations. We will continue to closely monitor the relevant seas and airspace, and take all necessary steps in accordance with the need,” the ministry said.

‘Don’t make trouble’

The statement also urged the US side “to conscientiously handle China’s serious representations, immediately correct its mistake and not take any dangerous or provocative acts that threaten China’s sovereignty and security interests.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also warned Washington on Tuesday not to “make trouble out of nothing” in the South China Sea.

The White House had approved the movement by the USS Lassen, which sailed around a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China, said a US military official, requesting not to be named.

China has on different occasions asserted its sovereignty over the South China Sea. However, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims over the waters.

Washington has sided with China’s rivals in the territorial dispute, with Beijing accusing the US of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

 

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