China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi urges the United States government not to stir up troubles in West Philippine Sea as reports emerge today that a US Navy vessel will be challenging the sovereignty claim of China in Spratly Islands. “Foreign Minister Wang Yi was asked by the foreign media about the US plan of sending a naval vessel to waters within 12 nautical miles off China’s islands and reefs in the South China Sea,” the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
“Wang Yi said that we are checking on that. If it is true, we urge the US side to think twice, not to take rash moves and stir up troubles,” the Chinese ministry said.
US Defense officials, CNN and Reuters report, said that an American warship will be sent within 12 nautical miles territorial waters of China’s artificial islands in Spratly Islands within the coming hours. The mission was reportedly given to USS Lassen (DDG-82).
US State Department spokesman John Kirby, refusing to give specifics, said “this is a military matter – this idea of what we call freedom of navigation operations. It’s routine. As a former naval officer, I can tell you I did it many, many times myself. It’s one of the reasons you have a navy, to be able to exert influence and to defend freedom of navigation on – in international waters.”