Beijing accuses US destroyer of violating China’s territorial waters: Sputnik

Tehran, Jan 31, IRNA - The patrolling near the Paracel Islands archipelago, conducted by a US Navy destroyer, is unlawful as such action can only be allowed with the permission of the Chinese authorities, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said.

Earlier, Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said that the US Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur approached the island of Triton Paracel Islands archipelago at a distance of 12 nautical miles in an operation aimed at the protection of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Russia's Sputnik reported on Saturday.

He added that the operation was a provocation to China, Taiwan and Vietnam, who according to the US are trying to limit the rights and freedom of navigation.

“According to the relevant provision of Law of the People’s Republic of China, any foreign warships entering the territorial waters of China must obtain permission from the Chinese Government,” Hua Chunying said.

“The US warship violated China's law, by illegally entering the territorial waters of China,” she added.

According to her, the Chinese side took appropriate action against the American ships in accordance with the law, taking it under surveillance and alerting the crew.

“We urge the US to respect China's laws and do more for the development of mutual trust and stability in the region,” she noted.

On Wednesday, the head of the Pacific Command US Navy Admiral Garry Harris said that the US insists on the need to respect international rules of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

On Thursday, Hua Chunying said that China continues to adhere to the principle of freedom of navigation and the protection of the South China Sea.

China and some countries in the region — Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines disagree over maritime boundaries and areas of responsibility in the South China and East China seas. China believes that a number of countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam consciously used the US support to escalate tensions in the region.