Washington [US], Sept 14 (ANI): In an action that might further strain the already tensed relations of China and US, an American warship on Friday sailed through disputed waters in South China sea to "challenge" the unilateral imposition by Beijing.
The guided-missile destroyer "USS Wayne E. Meyer challenged the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and also contested China's claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands," CNN said quoting US Navy spokesperson Reann Mommsen.
"China, Taiwan, and Vietnam each claim sovereignty over the Paracel Islands. All three claimants require either permission or advance notification before a foreign military vessel engages in 'innocent passage' through territorial seas," Mommsen said, adding "the unilateral imposition of any authorization or notification requirement for innocent passage is not permitted by international law, so the United States challenged these requirements."
The Paracel Island which is located in the SCS has been claimed by both China and Vietnam.
Following the US Navy action, China released a statement in response saying that the warship "trespassed into waters off China's Xisha Islands without permission of the Chinese government."
"The US side has been practicing 'navigational hegemony' in the South China Sea for a long time. Such actions have seriously undermined China's sovereign interests, and proven the US side's complete lack of sincerity in maintaining global peace as well as regional security and stability," China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command spokesman Li Huamin said in the statement.
The South China Sea is one of the most contested regions in the world. China, the Philippines, Vietnam and others have overlapping territorial claims in the sea.
It may be noted that the United States and China are at loggerheads over military deployment in the Indo Pacific region.
While Beijing has protested against US freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea, Washington and China's Southeast Asian neighbors are concerned about Beijing's military build-up, reports South China Morning Post. (ANI)