KONFRONTASI - China has once again warned the United States against any military activities in the South China Sea, as reports have emerged that Washington is planning to conduct fresh naval patrols in the disputed area.
In a news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said tensions in the South China Sea had stabilized due to the hard work between China and the Southeast Asia countries that also lay claims to territory in the sea.
He called on foreign countries, including the US, to show respect for such regional, de-escalatory measures.
Geng also said, “We urge the US not to take any actions that challenge China’s sovereignty and security.”
The warning comes after US Navy officials announced three days earlier that they were considering increasing potentially provocative operations near the artificial islands in the South China Sea that Beijing claims as its sovereign territory.
Last October, Washington carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” in the area, sailing the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur near the Paracel Islands.
This file photo shows a part of the city of Sansha on Woody Island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China now considers part of its Hainan Province. (By AFP)
The South China Sea is the subject of a territorial dispute between China and several regional countries. Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei all have overlapping claims with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea. But those countries seem to have been managing their disputes with China smoothly.
The US, on the other hand, has time and again risked heightening tensions with China through military presence in the South China Sea, questioning Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over the disputed waters, which are located far from US territory.
China says Washington is meddling in the regional issues and is deliberately escalating the situation in the waters.[ptv]