The United States has successfully sailed the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG-82) within the 12 nautical-mile territorial water of China’s fake island Subi (Zamora) Reef in West Philippine Sea today. The move aimed to demonstrate freedom of navigation in maritime territories being claimed by China. USS Lassen is homeported to Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan and has been conducting patrols in West Philippine Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed that “October 27, US USS Lassen illegally entered China’s Nansha Islands and adjacent waters without Chinese government permission.” He added that Chinese authorities carried out tracking and warnings.
“The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” the Chinese spokesperson said. He added that the US warship threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests.
Lu Kang reiterated China’s indisputable sovereignty over Spratly Islands and adjacent waters. “China firmly maintains its own territorial sovereignty, security and legal and legitimate marine rights and interests.”
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation relating to air and sea, and to take all necessary measures as required,” he said. He also said China is strongly urging the US side to take seriously China’s solemn representations, immediately correct mistakes, to refrain from any threat to China’s sovereignty and security interests, abide by its commitment of not holding position on the issue of territorial sovereignty dispute, so as to avoid further damage to China-US relations and regional peace and stability.