Chinese Navy Plans Combat Drills in South China Sea

French Navy Frigate Conducts FONOP in South China Sea 2

US Navy Destroyer Sails In South China Sea Amid Chinese Combat Drills

Commenting on the mission, Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesperson Ren Guoqiang (任國強) said two Chinese vessels identified the guided missile destroyer and warned it off.

On Friday, as the U.S. and China sparred over trade and tariffs, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mustin conducted freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) in proximity to Mischief Reef, a Chinese-occupied feature in the Spratly Islands.

To reinforce its position, Beijing has reclaimed land and constructed military assets on a series of reefs in the Spratly and Paracel island chains.

"By repeatedly sending military ships into these areas without authorization, the United States has seriously harmed Chinese sovereignty and security, violated basic rules of global relations, and harmed regional peace and stability", the spokesman said.

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer carried out a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) near an artificial island controlled by China on Friday.

China has always dedicated itself to protecting freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, but opposes "illegal and provocative" moves in the name of freedom of navigation, it added.

The Chinese government has laid claims to a large swathe of territory in the South China Sea region, overlapping areas claimed by other countries including Vietnam and the Philippines.

China has exerted pressure on Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines to concede "joint development" in areas where the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) gives them sole rights but all have so far refused to do so.

The US has criticized China's construction of islands and buildup of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned that they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

"The provocative behavior by the United States side will only cause the Chinese military to further strengthen building up defense abilities in all areas".

In a separate statement, China's Foreign Ministry said the country would continue to take all necessary steps to protect its sovereignty and peace and stability in the South China Sea, where it said the situation was developing for the better with the hard work of China and Southeast Asian nations.

"According to the PLA Navy personnel department, this is routine training as part of its annual plan to improve combat capability, and it is not aimed at any specific country or target", official news agency Xinhua reported.

Today, the Chinese Navy is holding a live-fire drill in the sea to test its combat readiness.

In January, a U.S. destroyer carried out FONOP and came within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal.

In July a year ago, Vietnam called off another drilling expedition in the South China Sea after reported pressure from Beijing.

Latest News