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China ‘drove away’ US destroyer near Paracel Island

China ‘drove away’ US destroyer near Paracel Island

China ‘drove away’ US destroyer near Paracel Island

The US Navy said the USS Benfold ‘asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law.

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  • A US warship cruised near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, angering Beijing.
  • China said it “drove away” the ship for illegally entering its territorial waters.
  • Vietnam and Taiwan also claim the Paracels, which China calls its territory.
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BEIJING: A US warship cruised near the disputed Paracel Island in the South China Sea on Wednesday, angering Beijing, which said it “drove away” the ship for illegally entering Chinese waters.

Freedom of Navigation Operations are often done by the US in the South China Sea to challenge China and other claimants who try to stop ships from going where they want to go.

The US Navy said that the USS Benfold used its freedom of navigation near the Paracel Islands.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight, free trade and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations.”

China claims it doesn’t restrict navigation or overflight, accusing the US of stoking tensions.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Southern Theatre Command said the US ship illegally entered China’s territorial waters around the Paracels, which Vietnam and Taiwan also claim.

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“The PLA’s Southern Theatre Command organized sea and air forces to follow, monitor, warn and drive away” the ship, it added.

“The facts once again show that the United States is nothing short of a security risk maker in the South China Sea and a destroyer of regional peace and stability.

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In 1974, China annexed the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam.

On Monday, it had been six years since a court ruled against China’s claims to the South China Sea, which is used for $3 trillion worth of trade every year.

China never acknowledged the decision.

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China claims the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei have rival claims.

China has erected artificial islands, including airports, in the South China Sea, provoking regional worries.

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