The Pentagon mentioned it was “concerned” about Chinese navy workouts round a disputed archipelago within the South China Sea, warning that the maneuvers will “further destabilise” the area.
China’s increasing navy presence within the contested waters has nervous a number of of its neighbors, and Washington rejects Beijing’s territorial claims to a lot of the area, together with the Paracel Islands.
“The Department of Defense is concerned about the People’s Republic of China (PRC) decision to conduct military exercises around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on July 1-5,” the Pentagon mentioned in a press release on Thursday.
The actions “further destabilise the situation” within the space claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, it mentioned.
But Beijing rounded on the criticism, saying Friday that the drills have been “within the scope of China’s territorial sovereignty.”
“Some countries outside this region regularly travel far and wide to the South China Sea to put on large-scale military exercises, flexing their muscle,” mentioned overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a routine briefing.
“This is the fundamental reason impacting the stability of the South China Sea situation.”
The Paracels are a bunch of islands equidistant from the coast of China and Vietnam, claimed by each nations in addition to Taiwan, and a daily supply of rigidity.
– ‘Exercise restraint’ –
The US additionally repeatedly conducts so-called “freedom of navigation operations” within the South China Sea to be able to stand as much as Beijing, with the US Navy typically sending warships to the Paracels. The area is believed to have helpful oil and fuel deposits.
In April, a Chinese ship rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat close to the Paracel Islands, notching up tensions between the 2 nations.
Vietnam mentioned Friday that it had additionally delivered a protest notice to China, warning “not to repeat similar violations in the future.”
Such workouts additionally violate Beijing’s “commitments under the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea to avoid activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability,” it mentioned.
The declaration, signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations, mentioned all events would “avoid activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”
The workouts “are the latest in a long string” of Chinese actions “to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea.”
The Pentagon urged “all parties to exercise restraint and not undertake military activities that might aggravate disputes” within the area, and mentioned it is going to proceed to observe Chinese navy exercise.
In order to strengthen its territorial claims, Beijing has in recent times put in navy gear on Woody Island, the principle island within the Paracels, constructed synthetic islands within the space and closely promoted patriotic tourism to the archipelago.
Washington rejects Beijing’s territorial declare to a lot of the South China Sea, together with the Paracels. 31 In April, China created new administrative items for the Paracel and Spratly islands, which at the moment are ruled by Sansha metropolis, which China created on close by Woody Island in 2012.
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