WORLD

China threatens consequences over US warship’s actions

Mar 23, 2023, 11:38 PM

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Miliu...

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) conducts routine underway operations in South China Sea, Friday March 24, 2023. China threatened “serious consequences” Friday, after the U.S. Navy sailed a destroyer around the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea the second day in a row, which Beijing claimed was a violation of its sovereignty and security.(Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Greg Johnson/U.S. Navy via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Greg Johnson/U.S. Navy via AP)

BANGKOK (AP) — China threatened “serious consequences” Friday after the U.S. Navy sailed a destroyer around the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea for the second day in a row, in a move Beijing claimed was a violation of its sovereignty and security.

The warning comes amid growing tensions between China and the United States in the region, as Washington pushes back at Beijing’s growingly assertive posture in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway it claims virtually in its entirety.

On Thursday, after the U.S. sailed the USS Milius guided-missile destroyer near the Paracel Islands, China said its navy and air force had forced the American vessel away, a claim the U.S. military denied.

The U.S. on Friday sailed the ship again in the vicinity of the islands, which are occupied by China but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam, as part of what it called a “freedom of navigation operation” challenging requirements from all three nations requiring either advance notification or permission before a military vessel sails by.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight, free trade and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations,” said U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. j.g. Luka Bakic in an emailed statement.

“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant,” Bakic added.

China’s Ministry of National Defense responded by accusing the U.S. of “undermining the peace and stability of the South China Sea” with its actions.

“The act of the U.S. military seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, severely breached international laws, and is more ironclad evidence of the U.S. pursuing navigation hegemony and militarizing the South China Sea,” ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said. “We solemnly request that the US. immediately stop such actions of provocation, otherwise it will bear the serious consequences of unexpected incidents caused by this.”

He said China would take “all necessary measures” to ensure its security but did not elaborate.

Like its statement on the Thursday incident, China again said it drove the American ship away from the islands, which are in the South China Sea a few hundred kilometers (miles) off the coast of Vietnam and the Chinese province of Hainan.

Both sides said their actions were justified under international law.

Bakic told The Associated Press that the ship “was not driven away” and “continued on to conduct routine maritime security operations in international waters” after concluding its mission near the Paracel Islands.

“The operation reflects our commitment to uphold freedom of navigation and lawful uses of the sea for all nations,” he said. “The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as Milius did today.”

The U.S. has no South China Sea claims itself, but has deployed Naval and Air Force assets for decades to patrol the strategic waterway, through which around $5 trillion in global trade transits each year and which holds highly valuable fish stocks and undersea mineral resources.

A United Nations-backed arbitration tribunal ruled in 2016 that the historical claim from China on the waters had no legal basis under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Seas, and Washington maintains that freedom of navigation and overflight of the waterway are in the American national interest.

U.S. forces currently operate in the South China Sea daily, and have been present for more than a century. China regularly responds angrily, accusing the U.S. of meddling in Asian affairs and impinging upon its sovereignty.

China’s claims have frequently brought it into conflict with other nations in the region as well, and powerful military laser and other aggressive behavior.

World

An abandoned piano is seen inside of an abandoned apartment in the war-torn UN buffer zone in divid...

Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Remnants of lives interrupted by war half a century ago captured in Cyprus’ buffer zone

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A rickety piano leans crookedly against a peeling apartment wall, pots and pans filled with dust rest on a stove that has seen much better days and a book, its pages turning yellow with time, lies open next to a rusty tin can; signs of homes, once teeming with life, but […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Microsoft users worldwide report widespread outages affecting banks, airlines and broadcasters

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Microsoft users worldwide, including banks and airlines, reported widespread outages on Friday, hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Espionage trial of US journalist Evan Gershkovich in Russia reaches closing arguments

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — Court officials said closing arguments began Friday in the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who faces charges of spying that he, the Journal and the U.S. government have vehemently denied. U.S. officials and The Wall Street Journal have denounced the trial that began last month as a sham […]

2 days ago

FILE - President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus gives a speech during a military parade in Minsk, ...

Associated Press

Leader of Belarus marks 30 years in power after crushing all dissent and cozying up to Moscow

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — For three decades, European leaders have come and gone by the dozens, but Alexander Lukashenko remains in absolute control of Belarus. His longevity is due to a mixture of harshly silencing all dissent, reverting to Soviet-style economic controls and methods, and cozying up to Russia, even as he sometimes flirted with […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

US Treasury sanctions Sierra Leone man for allegedly smuggling migrants into the United States

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday on a man from Sierra Leone for allegedly smuggling thousands of migrants from Asia and Africa into the United States. The ring allegedly run by Abdul Karim Conteh provided false documents and drove migrants to the border and offered advice on how to cross, […]

2 days ago

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts as he walks from the 18th green following his opening round...

Associated Press

McIlroy, DeChambeau stumble badly out of the gates at British Open

TROON, Scotland (AP) — So much for the British Open being one last stand for Rory McIlroy in the majors this year. His best hope now is getting beyond one more day. And he has company from U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau. The protagonists from Pinehurst No. 2 were no match for a wind that […]

2 days ago

China threatens consequences over US warship’s actions