U.S. denies Chinese accusations of violating its waters

Photo: Issei Kato/Reuters

China’s military has accused the U.S. of illegally entering waters around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, and that they have deterred the violating U.S. Navy vessel.

The military claimed that it had monitored and driven away the USS Milius, a guided-missile destroyer, which intruded into China's territorial waters, threatening peace and stability in the region.

Tian Junli, a spokesman for China’s Southern Theatre Command, warned that the country’s forces would maintain a high state of alert and take all necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.

However, the U.S. Navy denied the Chinese military’s claims, stating that the USS Milius was conducting routine operations and had not been expelled.

“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” a statement from the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet said.

Tension between the United States and China has been growing in the area.

The United States has been shoring up alliances in the Asia-Pacific seeking to counter China's assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, as Beijing seeks to advance its territorial claims.