The US Navy denied the military of the Beijing regime, which claimed to have pursued the USS Benfold. Instead, Washington backed the Philippines and reiterated that any armed attack would activate the defense commitments between the two countries.
The United States sent a destroyer into the waters of the disputed Paracelsus Islands in the South China Sea on Sunday in a navigation operation that angered Beijing, whose military authorities said they were pursuing the ship.
The US Navy, in a statement from the 7th Fleet Public Affairs office, rejected the Chinese statement as false but did not give details about a possible encounter with PLA forces.
ACCORDING TO THE STATEMENT, the USS Benfold carried out the operation "by international law and then continued to conduct normal operations in international waters," according to the statement. The Chinese report was "the latest in a long series of actions by China to misrepresent the legal maritime operations of the United States and enforce its excessive and illegitimate maritime claims," the Navy added.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei claim parts of this strategic sea from which, in addition to hosting the oil and gas sectors, 30% of world trade circulates. In contrast, China claims to have sovereignty over these waters in their entirety.
"By carrying out this operation, the United States demonstrated that these waters are beyond what China can legally claim as its territorial sea and that the straight baselines claimed by China around the island of Paracelsus is in conflict with international law. The US Navy said.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China about its "threats" to the Philippines and reiterated that any "armed attack" would activate defense commitments between them.
In a statement from the State Department of the North American country, he stressed that "nowhere is the maritime order based on international rules more threatened than in the Because of the South China Sea, China forces and threatens Southeast Asian countries.
The message was also launched on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in which the Philippines was agreed in its maritime dispute with China and determined that the latter country does not have any "historical" right to hold on to claim specific areas of the South Sea.
Finally, Blinken called on China "to comply with its obligations under international law" and stop its provocative behavior. "
Hours later, the Chinese military released their version of the US ship's raid. The USS Benfold "had entered Chinese territorial waters without authorization from the Chinese Government," according to a statement posted on the official account of the Command of the South Theater of Operations on the social network WeChat.
The PLA sent a warning to the destroyer. Its naval forces followed suit, said Tian Junli, a spokesman for the command, in the statement.
According to the statement, the destroyer's behavior "is a violation of Chinese sovereignty, undermines the peace and stability of the South China Sea, And according to the statement, it violates the basic principles of international law and relations, which also accused the United States of being a real destabilizing power in the region.