The People's Liberation Army of China claimed that the USS Milius, a guided missile warship belonging to the US Navy, illegally passed near an island in the South China Sea and entered Chinese territorial waters.
"China has undisputed sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the surrounding maritime region," the statement said.
The US Navy's 7th Fleet said in a statement that "in accordance with international law asserted the rights and freedoms of navigation near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea."
It was noted that the fleet left the area and continued its operations in the South China Sea.
The Chinese military announced on March 23 that the USS Milius had entered the waters around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea without permission, while the US Navy claimed that the warship was carrying out routine operations.
China claims much of the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim sovereignty in the region.
China organized joint jet flights and naval frigates on Monday after a US warship passed through the disputed South China Sea during Beijing's "encirclement" of Taiwan.
Southern Theater Command of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said it “organized naval and air forces to track and monitor” the US Navy destroyer USS Milius when it “illegally trespassed into waters near China's Meiji Reef in the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on Monday.”
Beijing’s statement came after the 7th Fleet of the US military in Asia-Pacific deployed its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) in the South China Sea on Monday.
On April 10, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law.— 7th Fleet (@US7thFleet) April 10, 2023
Read more: https://t.co/BcOAXsufuOpic.twitter.com/PNyja70Vbv
At the conclusion of the operation, the USS Milius left the over-claim zone and continued its operations in the South China Sea.
“The United States engaged in ‘normal operations’ within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef. Under customary international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention, features like Mischief Reef that are submerged at high tide in their naturally formed state are not entitled to a territorial sea,” the statement said.
The voyage of the US warship comes as China’s three-day “military sword” exercises around Taiwan continued on Monday.
(Ihlas News Agency - AA)