China on Friday said it would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation, as the United States considers sailing warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.
A US defence official said Washington was mulling sending ships within the next two weeks to waters inside the 12-nautical-mile zone that Beijing claims as territory around islands it has built in the Spratly chain.
Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, though Washington has signalled it does not recognise its territorial claims and that the US navy will continue to operate wherever international law allows.
“We will never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. “We urge the related parties not to take any provocative actions, and genuinely take a responsible stance on regional peace and stability.”
President Xi Jinping has said the country has no intention of militarising the islands, but Washington analysts and US officials say Beijing has already begun setting up military facilities there.
Full article: China ‘will not allow US to violate its territorial waters in the South China Sea’ (South China Morning Post)