BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s military said on Thursday it was monitoring and expelling U.S. destroyers that had trespassed into waters around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
In a statement, the military said the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius had entered China’s territorial waters, undermining peace and stability in the crowded waterway.
“The theater company will remain alert at all times and take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the Theater Command said.
The U.S. Navy on Thursday denied the Chinese military’s explanation, saying the destroyer was conducting “routine operations” in the South China Sea and had not been designated.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate as international law allows,” the Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement. Tensions between the United States and China are rising in the region.
The United States has forged alliances in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China’s claims in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, but Beijing is seeking to advance its territorial claims.