Context: The warship USS Mustin entered the Paracel Islands after China fired its heavy missile. The US Pacific Fleet says the purpose of this activity is to ensure “free and open” shipping lanes.
On Friday, China announced it had warned and chased a US guided missile destroyer in the South China Sea, an area where China has only recently launched a missile test launch. This case is the latest development after a series of escalating tensions between the two countries in the region.
The American destroyer “entered Chinese territorial waters”, near the Paracel Islands, which China calls itself Xisha, Beijing’s statement said. According to this statement, the High Command of the Southern Military Region mobilized naval and air forces and “repelled” US naval ships.
“China has undisputed sovereignty in the South China Sea and contiguous waters in the region. The military zone of the military zone is always vigilant and absolutely defends national sovereignty and ensures peace and security in the South China Sea, ”said Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesman for the Chinese Army on Friday. .
The US has not confirmed that their USS Mustin was “chased” in the South China Sea while on duty. According to a statement from the Pacific Fleet, the ship “moved near the Paracel Islands” on Thursday, to “oppose excessive maritime claims and reinforce rules in international waters.” “.
The maneuvering is part of an attempt to “ensure that important transport routes in the region are free and open,” the statement said.
The US sent ships into the East Sea the day after China fired the Dongfeng missile into the East Sea. China one of these missiles is the “carrier killer”.
The US Department of Defense warned that the launch of Chinese missiles poses a threat to security and peace in the region. “Beijing’s actions, including this missile test, continue to destabilize the South China Sea situation,” declared the Pentagon.
Recently, China gave exercises almost simultaneously in four areas in the South China Sea. Experts say this rare move is a signal that Beijing is ready to take on the US and Taiwan. China launched the Dongfeng DF-21D Aircraft Carrier Killing missile after a US spy plane entered an area of China that declared itself a no-fly in the South China Sea.
Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Defense, said on Thursday that the exercises in the South China Sea did not target any particular country, and urged the United States to restrain.
“China protests, but is not afraid of the US provocation … We urge some American politicians to evaluate the situation objectively, stop agitation and bring Sino-US relations back to normal status,” he said. Wu said.
For its part, the US also actively strengthened its military presence in East Asia: exercises with Japan and South Korea two weeks ago.
International experts believe that China’s missile launch will only increase US distrust of Chinese intentions. Washington’s stance will be tougher on Beijing, not soften.
“It is unlikely that the US military will step back, because now the entire government is trying to compete and confront China both regionally and internationally. But if there is an armed clash, it will be more miscalculated, ”said Derek Grossman, a security expert at the Rand Institute in the US. to speak.
Last month Washington called China’s claims in the South China Sea illegal, citing the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Grossman said that while the possibility of a conflict between the US and China is small, it is still possible.
“If China shoots another DF-21D missile, and flies close to an American aircraft carrier passing through the area, the US military can respond with force because they think the missile is off target. If so, the situation will escalate.