*** ----> China says ‘issued a warning’ to US Navy ship in S. China Sea | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

China says ‘issued a warning’ to US Navy ship in S. China Sea

AFP | Beijing

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Beijing’s military yesterday said it had tailed and issued a warning to a US Navy ship in the disputed South China Sea, just days after the same vessel sparked China’s ire by sailing through the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea despite an international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.

It deploys hundreds of coast guard, navy and other vessels to patrol and militarise the waters.

And on yesterday, military spokesman Tian Junli said China had “organised naval and air forces to tail and monitor” the American guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey.

Those forces “issued a warning to drive it away”, he added, after the ship “illegally intruded into China’s territorial waters near the Xisha Islands without approval from the Chinese government”, Tian said, referring to the Paracel Islands by their Chinese name.

“The actions by the United States seriously violate China’s sovereignty and security,” he added.

In a statement yesterday, the US Navy confirmed its ship had “asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands”.

“At the conclusion of the operation, USS Halsey exited the excessive claim and continued operations in the South China Sea,” it added.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas,” the statement said.