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Global Times

PLA forces expel US destroyer trespassing Chinese territorial waters in South China Sea on 5th anniversary of invalid arbitral ruling

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Published: Jul 12, 2021 04:02 PM

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces expelled a US Navy destroyer that trespassed into Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea on Monday, the day that coincided with the fifth anniversary of the so-called South China Sea Arbitration ruling.

The US move shows it is continuing its provocations in the name of "freedom of navigation" and with the illegal and invalid arbitral ruling, but China is displaying strong determination and capability - even more so than five years ago - in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, experts said on Monday.

Without authorization from the Chinese government, the US guided missile destroyer USS Benfold illegally trespassed into China's territorial waters of Xisha on Monday, and the PLA Southern Theater Command organized maritime and aerial forces to track and monitor it and warned it away, Senior Colonel Tian Junli, spokesperson of the command, said in a statement released on the same day.

The Xisha Islands are inherent territory of China, and the US military's move seriously violated China's sovereignty and security, damaged peace and stability in the South China Sea, and violated international law and international relations norm, Tian said, noting that this marks another irrefutable evidence of US' militarization in the region with navigational hegemony.

Facts show that the US is the true maker of security risks in the South China Sea, Tian said.

"We strongly condemn this and are firmly against it. We urge the US to immediately stop this kind of provocations and strictly manage its maritime and aerial military activities, or it will be the US to bear any consequences," Tian warned.

The command forces are always on high alert to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, safety and peace and stability in the South China Sea, Tian said.

The US military chose the fifth anniversary of the so-called South China Sea Arbitration ruling to send a warship to the South China Sea with the aim of provoking China, violating China's sovereignty, security and maritime rights in the name of "freedom of navigation," Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.

By immediately expelling the intruding US warship, the PLA displayed China's firm will of safeguarding national sovereignty and security and its consistent opposition of US' provocations, Zhang said.

Over the past five years, the PLA commissioned a considerably large number of new warships, with many deployed to the Southern Theater Command to safeguard the South China Sea, observers said. This includes China's first domestically developed aircraft carrier, the Shandong, the country's first Type 075 amphibious assault ship, the Hainan, and the 10,000 ton-class large destroyer, the Dalian.

PLA warplanes are also honing their capabilities in the South China Sea, with fighter jets conducting 10-hour patrol missions, strategic transport aircraft holding routine training in southern Nansha Islands and newly developed H-6J bombers practicing anti-ship missions, according to official statements and reports.

The US' attempts to put pressure and gain advantage on China through military means in the South China Sea will not succeed, analysts said.

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