China on Thursday branded the United States an “out-and-out security risk creator” in the South China Sea, after an American warship sailed through waters near the disputed Paracel Islands.
Tensions in maritime waters claimed by both China and many of its neighbours have ratcheted up recently, with Beijing staging live-fire drills and sending hundreds of fishing vessels to a reef claimed by the Philippines.
China’s military said the USS Curtis Wilbur, a guided missile destroyer, was warned and driven away from the contested waters near the islands, which are claimed by China.
US actions “increase regional security risks, which easily causes misunderstandings, misjudgements and unforeseen maritime incidents”, People’s Liberation Army Southern Theatre Command spokesman Colonel Tian Junli said in a notice posted on social media.
“This is unprofessional and irresponsible, and fully demonstrates that the US is an out-and-out ‘South China Sea security risk creator’.”
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