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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Remarks on the US Warship's Unauthorized Entry into the Neighboring Waters of Relevant Islands and Reefs of China's Nansha Qundao
2017-08-11

Q: A US official said USS John S. McCain carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" in the neighboring waters of Meiji Jiao of Nansha Qundao. Can you confirm that and what is your comment?

A: On August 10, USS John S. McCain entered the neighboring waters of relevant islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao without the permission of the Chinese government and carried out the so-called "freedom of navigation operation". The Chinese armed forces immediately sent naval ships to identify and verify the US warship according to law and warn it to leave.

China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters. The relevant acts of the US warship violated Chinese laws and international law, severely undermined China's sovereignty and security, and seriously endangered the life safety of the frontline personnel from both sides. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with this and will lodge solemn representations to the US side.

For some time, with the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has cooled down and deescalated and continuously taken a positive trend. In particular, the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in the Philippines several days ago unanimously adopted the Framework of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). Against this backdrop, certain non-regional forces have moved against the general trend and continued to make provocations and troubles under the pretext of "freedom of navigation" with an attempt to disturb the current hard-won sound situation. This has clearly manifested who is exactly the one that does not want to see the sustained stability in the South China Sea, and who serves the biggest factor in the "militarization" of the South China Sea.

China has been unswervingly determined to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. The provocation by the US side has compelled the Chinese side to take measures to further enhance its capability to defend its territory.

We strongly urge the US side to faithfully respect China's sovereignty and security interests, as well as the regional countries' concerted efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, play a constructive role for this aim, and refrain from any further action that is detrimental to the China-US mutual trust and regional stability.

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