Beijing claims US warship 'violated' its sovereignty by sailing near Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea

The USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan Island on the night of 17 January without alerting Beijing, the foreign ministry said, referring to the shoal by its Chinese name.

AFP January 20, 2018 16:38:05 IST
Beijing claims US warship 'violated' its sovereignty by sailing near Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea

Beijing: Beijing on Saturday said it had dispatched a warship to drive away a US missile destroyer which had "violated" its sovereignty by sailing close to a shoal in the disputed South China Sea.

The USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan Island on the night of 17 January without alerting Beijing, the foreign ministry said, referring to the shoal by its Chinese name.

Beijing claims US warship violated its sovereignty by sailing near Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea

Representational image. Reuters

Also known as Scarborough Shoal, the ring of reefs lies about 230 kilometres from the Philippines in the South China Sea, where Beijing's claims are hotly contested by other nations.

The US vessel "violated China's sovereignty and security interests", and put the safety of nearby Chinese vessels "under grave threat", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

China's defence ministry said in a separate statement that a Chinese frigate "immediately took actions to identify and verify the US ship and drove it away by warning" it.

The USS Hopper recently entered the US Navy's 7th Fleet area of operations, where the ship is on an "independent deployment", according to a statement released earlier this month on the Navy's website.

Its mission in Asia involves "security cooperation, building partner capacity, and performing routine operations within the area".

News of the encounter follows Friday's release of a new US national defence strategy that says America is facing "growing threats" from China and Russia.

China is a "strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbours while militarising features in the South China Sea", the document says.

China's defence ministry dismissed those claims on Saturday, saying "the situation in the South China Sea has steadily stabilised," in comments attributed to spokesman Wu Qian.

But it added, "the United States has repeatedly sent warships illegally into the adjacent waters of the South China Sea islands and reefs."

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea despite rival claims from Southeast Asian neighbours and has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

China seized Scarborough Shoal in 2012 after a brief stand-off with the Philippine navy. The shoal is also claimed by Taiwan.

Updated Date:

also read

One thousand rivers account for nearly 80 percent of plastic carried into oceans: Study
science

One thousand rivers account for nearly 80 percent of plastic carried into oceans: Study

The top five plastic emitting countries are all located in Asia - the Philippines, India, Malaysia, China, and Indonesia.

'New energy' at Iran nuclear talks as diplomats reconvene; agreement possible in coming weeks, says US
World

'New energy' at Iran nuclear talks as diplomats reconvene; agreement possible in coming weeks, says US

The aim of the talks is a return to full compliance with the 2015 accord, known as the JCPOA, which has been slowly disintegrating since the US under Donal Trump withdrew from it in 2018

Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra says Beijing triumph was followed by 'biggest mental crisis' of life
Sports

Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra says Beijing triumph was followed by 'biggest mental crisis' of life

Bindra won the 10m air rifle event at Beijing to become the only Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics, but just after that moment of celebration, he felt a "void". He also said he wanted to quit shooting after 2008 gold-winning feat.