China Condemns USS Hopper’s Navigation Close To The Paracel Islands

“USS Hopper”, a United States naval destroyer, is accused of entering China’s territory without permission, prompting the Chinese People Liberation Army’s Southern Theatre Command to declare that the US is a “security risk creator” in the South China Sea.

As per the official statement on the Chinese military’s WeChat account, China dispatched its air and naval forces to “monitor, track, and warn away” the vessel in response to the incident.

USS Hopper
Image Credits: Posted on X by 7th Fleet

The USS Hopper’s illegal entry into Chinese territorial waters, according to the Chinese military, is proof that the US is pursuing “navigational hegemony” and the “militarisation of the South China Sea.”

China states that the US’s pursuit of “hegemony” in the area is evident from the operation close to the Paracel Islands.

A spokesman for the Chinese Air Force, Col. Tian Junli of Southern Theater Command, said that China had to take action to protect its interests and that China had mobilised ships and aircraft to monitor and warn of the USS Hopper in response to the alleged incursion.

The USS Hopper conducted a navigation exercise to assert “navigational rights and freedoms” off the coast of the Paracel Islands, a chain of reefs, shoals, and islands that China, Vietnam, and Taiwan claim. The U.S. 7th Fleet made the announcement.

Lt. Kristina Wiedemann, a 7th Fleet spokesman, stated that the Navy’s action challenges the prohibitions placed on military vessels travelling through the region by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Tensions in the disputed area continue, and this incident comes after China accused the Philippines of using “foreign forces” to patrol the South China Sea.

At “candid” discussions on maritime matters earlier this month, the U.S and China discussed concerns the United States had about “dangerous and unlawful” actions by China in the South China Sea.

To protest limitations on innocent passage, the USS Hopper is currently engaged in an operation close to the Paracel Islands, one of several actions the U.S. Navy has taken in the South China Sea.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international treaty governing both civilian and military maritime activities and signed by 168 of the 193 U.N. member states, is allegedly violated by these restrictions, according to the 7th Fleet.

Reference- Hindustan Times, Stars and Stripes

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