China warns US against fresh patrols in S. China Sea

File photo of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in South China Sea on May 5, 2016.
File photo of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in South China Sea on May 5, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING • China's Foreign Ministry yesterday warned Washington against challenging Chinese sovereignty, responding to reports that the United States was planning fresh naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea.

On Sunday, the Navy Times reported that US Navy and Pacific Command leaders were considering freedom of navigation patrols in the busy waterway by the San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, citing unnamed defence officials.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said tension in the South China Sea had stabilised because of the hard work between China and South-east Asian countries, and he urged foreign nations, including the US, to respect that.

"We urge the US not to take any actions that challenge China's sovereignty and security," he told a regular news briefing yesterday.

The US last conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the area last October, when it sailed the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur near the Paracel Islands and within waters claimed by China.

China is also considering revisions to its maritime safety law that would make foreign submersibles travel on the surface and report their movements to the authorities when in China's waters, the state media said yesterday.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'China warns US against fresh patrols in S. China Sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe