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Due to its One-China policy, Beijing has laid claim to several islands chains in the South China Sea. On Friday, the Chinese Defence Ministry claimed the USS John McCain had entered into the waters around the disputed islands, without the government’s permission. After detecting the US naval ship, the Chinese military quickly ordered the vessel to leave the waters, before sending forces to conduct tracking procedures.
Senior Colonel Zhang Nandong also called on the US to stop violating China’s sovereignty in the region.
He said: “We demand the US immediately stop such provocative actions, and strictly control and restrict military operations in the sea and air.”
The military official also stated China would continue to take necessary measures to protect the regional stability of the South China Sea.
China has accused the US of trying to increase its presence in the region by sending navy ships to conduct freedom of navigation operations.
Due to China’s colossal navy, Beijing has been able to put pressure on neighbouring states such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam to claim the islands it sees as its own.
Due to this, Washington has attempted to take a tough stance with Beijing.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has persistently warned of Xi Jinping’s growing naval empire.
He has previously stated: “We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.
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“In the South China Sea, we seek to preserve peace and stability, uphold freedom of the seas in a manner consistent with international law, maintain the unimpeded flow of commerce, and oppose any attempt to use coercion or force to settle disputes.
“We share these deep and abiding interests with our many allies and partners who have long endorsed a rules-based international order.
“Beijing uses intimidation to undermine the sovereign rights of Southeast Asian coastal states in the South China Sea, bully them out of offshore resources, assert unilateral dominion, and replace international law with might makes right.
“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.”
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Canada has now joined the chorus of countries calling for China’s activities in the region to be monitored.
After two Canadians were detained by China, Justin Trudeau’s defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, called for NATO to increase its activities in the South China Sea.
He also described Beijing’s action in the waters as “concerning”.
He said: “This type of hostage diplomacy is not what good rules-based order nations do.
“So, if you want to be part of the global rules-based order, we need to have greater predictability.
“These are some of the things that we will continue to monitor, and we need to monitor in NATO.
“This is not just about being reactionary to a problem.
“It’s about making sure any nation out there sees the collective will of what NATO brings to the table, and that’s the strong message of defence and deterrence.”
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