In the latest development of the South China Sea dispute, the Chinese military has claimed that it warned a US warship to vacate waters in the contested region on Thursday. However, the American forces have vehemently denied these claims, labeling them as “false”.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, which is a significant maritime route through which trillions of dollars in trade pass every year. But an international court has previously ruled that the claim holds no legal basis. Meanwhile, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also lay claim to the sea, while the US regularly sends naval vessels through it to safeguard freedom of navigation in international waters.
As per the Southern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the USS Milius, a guided missile destroyer, entered waters around the Paracel Islands on Thursday, which are also claimed by Vietnam. The PLA’s spokesman, Tian Junli, stated that the Chinese forces tracked and monitored the ship in accordance with the law and subsequently warned it to leave.