Urge US to cease provocative conduct in South China Sea: China

File photo of US warship. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Beijing, Beijing, China Nov 22, 2019, 10.34 AM (IST)

China on Friday urged the US to "cease provocative, risky conduct, to prevent unforeseen incidents" after two US naval warships sailed in the South China Sea.

USS Gabrielle Giffords warship had sailed near the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands on Wednesday followed by the USS Wayne E. Meyer destroyer which passed the Paracel Islands on Thursday.

"Recently, the US has used the pretext of 'freedom of navigation' to frequently send warships to the South China Sea area to cause trouble," China said in a statement, adding, "we urge the US to cease this kind of provocative, risky conduct, to prevent unforeseen incidents."

US warships regularly sail in the South China Sea citing 'freedom of navigation' which is also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

In August, in a similar incident, the destroyer Wayne E. Meyer had entered within 12 nautical miles of Fiery Cross and Mischief Reefs in the South China Sea angering China. After the operation, the US said it was done to "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law."

US warship again entered the busy waterways in May as destroyer Preble sailed across the disputed area.

The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.

China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing's militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

China's naval chief referring to the US had said earlier that freedom of navigation should not be used to infringe upon the rights of other nations.

Story highlights

USS Gabrielle Giffords warship had sailed near the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands on Wednesday followed by the USS Wayne E. Meyer destroyer which passed the Paracel Islands on Thursday.