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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Remarks on US Missile Detroyer Stethem Trespassing China's Territorial Waters off Xisha Islands

2017/07/02

Q: According to foreign media reports, US missile destroyer Stethem entered China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands on July 2. What is your comment on that?

A: On July 2, the missile destroyer USS Stethem trespassed China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands. China dispatched military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the US vessel.

The Xisha Islands are an inherent part of the Chinese territory. In accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996. The relevant Chinese law has explicit provisions on foreign military vessels' entry into the territorial sea of China.

Under the pretext of "navigation freedom", the US side once again sent a military vessel into China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands without China's approval. Its behavior has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China's sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation. The Chinese side is dissatisfied with and opposed to the relevant behavior of the US side.

Working together, China and ASEAN member states have cooled down and improved the situation in the South China Sea. The US, who deliberately stirs up troubles in the South China Sea, is running in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development.

The Chinese side strongly urges the US side to immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China's sovereignty and threaten China's security. The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security.

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