China’s military accused a US combat ship of illegally entering waters near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The spokesperson for China’s Southern Theater of Operations stated that the US action seriously undermined regional peace and stability, deliberately disrupted the South China Sea, and violated China’s sovereignty.
China is embroiled in territorial disputes with several neighboring countries over its extensive claims in the South China Sea. Tensions have escalated in recent months, with confrontations between Chinese and Philippine vessels, as well as protests against US ships patrolling disputed areas.
The spokesperson noted that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army had organized maritime troops to follow and monitor the US ship, and emphasized that troops in the theater were on high alert to defend national sovereignty.
In a related development, the Philippine Coast Guard deployed two vessels in the South China Sea in response to an “alarming” increase in the number of Chinese maritime militia vessels at a reef within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.