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China Calls U.S. 'Biggest Destroyer' of Peace After Warship Asserts Navigational Rights, Sails Near Disputed Islands

China Calls U.S. 'Biggest Destroyer' of Peace After Warship Trip
Source: MEGA

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel sails near the Paracel/Xisha Islands.

Nov. 28 2023, Published 10:03 a.m. ET

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Less than two weeks after a Sino-American summit, China’s military claimed triumph over the U.S. in a naval staredown.

Knewz.com reported tension on the water recently developed near islands in the South China Sea.

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A spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army told The People’s Daily that the USS Hopper illegally entered Chinese waters, so a Chinese command sprang into action.

"The [Southern] theater command has organized air and naval forces to follow and monitor it, and drove it away according to law," Sr. Col. Tian Junti announced.

Newsweek reports the incident occurred near what the West calls the Paracel Islands, hundreds of miles east of Da Nang, Vietnam. China calls them the Xisha Islands.

No shots reportedly were fired. The South China Morning Post quoted the Chinese as saying they “warned off” the Hopper.

Tian said the Hopper committed a “serious violation,” while accusing the U.S. military of being a “security risk maker” and the ”biggest destroyer” of peace in the region.

But the U.S. Navy claimed in a statement that the Hopper "asserted navigational rights… near the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law.”

The warship may have conducted what U.S. defense officials call a “freedom of navigation” mission, sailing into what the U.S. considers international waters.

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"The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant,” Seventh Fleet spokesperson Lt. Kristina Weidemann said.

Knewz reported in spring about a similar incident that brought Chinese complaints.

The U.S. long has accused China of excess when it comes to control of the South China Sea.

Beijing claims it has sovereignty over practically the entire body of water, but an international court of arbitration ruled otherwise in 2016.

U.S. and Philippine military forces are completing a weekend of patrols in the region by sea and air. In addition, Australia recently sailed a warship through the disputed Taiwan Strait.

Even the Paracel Islands are in dispute. Next year will mark 50 years since China seized them, even though Taiwan and Vietnam also claim them.

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Knewz reported in late October that the U.S. military claims a Chinese J-11 fighter jet flew within three yards of a B-52 bomber.

Sky News added that a Philippine military aircraft came under “orbiting” by Chinese fighter jets during current patrolling, but nothing further developed.

The South China Sea is important economically, as it connects southeast Asia with the Pacific Ocean.

According to AsiaOne, more than $3 trillion in commerce moves through the sea each year.

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