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China accuses US destroyer of trespassing on waters near Xisha Islands

The USS Benfold entered the waters near Xisha islands early on Monday, after which it was escorted out by the Chinese military, according to the command.

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Beijing: The guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold illegally entered the waters of the disputed Xisha islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, and was consequently warned off, Tian Junli, the Chinese military’s Southern Theater Command spokesman, said on Monday.
The USS Benfold entered the waters near Xisha islands early on Monday, after which it was escorted out by the Chinese military, according to the command.
“The Xisha Archipelago is Chinese territory. The US ship’s actions seriously violated China’s sovereignty, undermined the peace and stability of the South China Sea, violated the basic principles of international law and international relations, increasing security risks in the region — once again serving as proof of militarization of the South China Sea. The United States is truly responsible for creating security risks in the South China Sea,” the statement said.
The Chinese Defense Ministry further condemned the actions of the destroyer and protested what it says was a provocation and warned of potential consequences.
The South China Sea is one of many causes of tensions between China and the US, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters. The Paracels, called the Xisha Islands by Beijing, are part of the dispute, as China, Taiwan and Vietnam all claim sovereignty over them.

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