China’s Ministry of National Defense said PLA Navy deployed guided missile destroyer Lanzhou and the patrol ship Taizhou to issue warnings after US Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed near Subi (Zamora) reef October 27. Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for China’s MND, said on October 27 that the Chinese Defense Ministry firmly opposes US naval destroyer USS Lassen’s patrol near Subi (Zamora) reef in Spratly Islands in West Philippine Sea.
“The Chinese PLA Navy has dispatched the guided missile destroyer Lanzhou and the patrol ship Taizhou to send warnings by law to the USS Lassen,” Yang said.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter previously said “make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception.”
According to UNCLOS “every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles.” However, a low-tide elevation which is wholly situated at a distance exceeding the breadth of the territorial sea from the mainland or an island, it has no territorial sea of its own.
UNCLOS added that “artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.”