The United States is poised to sail warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, say Pentagon officials, in a move aimed at signalling to Beijing that Washington does not recognise Chinese territorial claims over the area.
The United States authorities argue that China’s maritime activities in the South China Sea that have increased over the past few years contradict the global maritime law.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has expressed “serious concern” about reports of an impending USA naval mission in the South China Sea. Countries located in and around the South China Sea, including the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, also consider these attempts unlawful and have raised competing claims to the disputed territories. A report in the South China Morning Post Thursday quoted a military source in China as suggesting that Beijing has a few “cost-effective” options for such a confrontation such as using drones to ward off ships.
“We urge the parties concerned to refrain from any provocative words and deeds, and play a responsible role for regional peace and stability”, she added.
The United States has said it will not intervene in the ongoing territorial disputes, but will protect freedom of navigation in a region that is critical for worldwide shipping. China has said the buildup is more about boosting its ability to contribute to the safety of the waters and provide other services such as weather forecasting and search and rescue support.
Asked about claims the fact that the United States desired to undertaking 12-nautical mile confines around China’s man-made location, he responded: “Won’t be make certain that”.
“I believe the USA side is extremely clear about China’s relevant principled stance”, she said.
Admiral Harry Harris, commander of USA forces in the Pacific, told the Aspen Security Forum in July that China was building hangars on one of the reefs – Fiery Cross – that appeared to be for tactical fighter aircraft.