PLA Navy forces tracked and identified the ship before warning it to leave. China accused the United States of a provocative act by sending a warship into disputed territorial waters in the South China Sea.
According to the People’s Liberation Army, USS McCampbell missile destroyer sailed near the Paracel Islands on Tuesday without authorization. Under the appearance of freedom of navigation, the U.S. has frequently flexed its muscles, continued provocative and stirred up trouble in the South China Sea, PLA spokesman Colonel Li Huamin added.
The McCampbell (DDG 85) is the U.S. Navy’s 35th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and was named for Capt. David S. McCampbell (1910-1996).
The U.S. Navy 7th fleet confirmed the freedom of navigation operation.
According to U.S Navy Fleet spokeswoman, unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas.
By conducting the freedom of navigation operation, the United States showed that these waters are beyond what China can lawfully claim as its territorial sea. That China’s claimed straight baselines around the Paracel Islands are inconsistent with international law.
Last week, the U.S. Navy accused the Chinese Navy of pointing a laser in an unsafe and unprofessional manner at a U.S. Navy P-8A flying in the airspace above international waters. The said acts violate the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea. The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea is a multilateral agreement which attempts to reduce the chances of an incident between military powers at sea. It was reached at the 2014 Western Pacific Naval Symposium. The incident occurred in international waters in the Philippine Sea, approximately 400 miles of Guam.
The Paracel Islands are a chain of disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea, claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.