US Navy sails largest warship through South China Sea, challenges Beijing’s territorial claims

US Warship (Representational image)
Image Source : AP

US Warship (Representational image)

Highlights

  • US Navy sailed largest warship through South China Sea
  • China reportedly was not happy and warn off US Navy warship
  • Beijing said it will bear serious consequences of unforeseen events if actions not controlled

A US Navy warship recently challenged Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea when its guided-missile destroyer sailed around the Paracel Islands.

According to reports, China did not like this intervention and reacted angrily to Benfold’s presence near Paracel Islands in what it claims are its territorial waters.

Reports say USS Benfold sailed around Xisha Islands in China. However, the navy called it freedom of navigation operation (FONOP). 

Paracels are a group of 130 small coral islands and are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan,  however, they are in Chinese hands for the past 46 years.

Amid this, in a statement, US Navy said, “All three claimants require either permission or advance notification before a military vessel engages in ‘innocent passage’ through the territorial sea. Under international law … the ships of all states — including their warships — enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea. The unilateral imposition of any authorization or advance-notification requirement for innocent passage is unlawful,” the US Navy statement said.

USS Benfold is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy.

Miffed with the US Navy warship around the Paracel Islands, China dispatched naval and air forces to follow and warn off the American warship.

In a statement, China said the passage of ship “seriously violated its sovereignty and security and warned that unless Washington ceases such activities it will bear the serious consequences of unforeseen events.

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