China’s military intercepted two US warships around the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea on Sunday, Ministry of National Defense said.
Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry, said two U.S. warships, the guided missile cruiser Antietam and the destroyer Higgins, arbitrarily entered on May 27 China's territorial waters around the Xisha Islands without permission of the Chinese government, China Military Online reports.
Chinese military took immediate actions by dispatching naval ships and aircrafts to conduct legal identification and verification of the U.S. warships and warn them off, Wu said.
Wu said that the Xisha islands in the South China Sea are China's inherent territory, and according to the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996.
The U.S. provocative action by sending once again warships into China's territorial waters surrounding the Xisha Islands violated Chinese law and relevant international law, seriously infringed sovereignty of China, Wu added.
The incident follows a similar one in March when the USS Mustin passed within 22km of the illegal artificial island of Meiji (Mischief) Reef in the Nansha Islands. Beijing reacted by calling this a serious “military provocation”.