China says it will take “necessary measures” to ensure its sovereignty after a U.S. warship sailed near a group of disputed islets in the South China Sea last week. The country’s foreign ministry Lu Kang said on Saturday that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan Island, also known as Scarborough Shoal. Both China and the Phillippines claim ownership of the islet. “The Chinese navy carried out identification and verification procedures in accordance with the law and warned the U.S. vessel to leave,” Lu said, as reported by South China Morning Post. “China is strongly dissatisfied with the [US action] and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty.” Two U.S. officials have confirmed the trip’s voyage to The Guardian, adding that the “patrol was in line with international law and was an ‘innocent passage’, in which a warship effectively recognizes a territorial sea by crossing it quickly, without stopping.” The Pentagon did not comment on this specific patrol, but the U.S. Navy claims it has the right to conduct so-called freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea. Tensions over China’s aggressive stance toward its territoriality in the South China Sea has… Read full this story
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