US Navy Hits Back After China Accuses It of Having ‘Illegally Intruded’

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The U.N. Navy turned aside China’s squawking over a recent incident in the South China Sea.

China claimed a Navy ship “illegally intruded” into the vast areas of the South China Sea that it claims are rightfully its, a claim disputed by multiple nations including the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

During the incident, the littoral combat ship the USS Gabrielle Giffords patrolled in the waters near the Second Thomas Shoal, an atoll whose ownership is in dispute, according to Reuters.

“The U.S. deliberately disrupted the situation in the South China Sea, seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, seriously undermined regional peace and stability, and seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, fully demonstrating that the U.S. is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the Chinese military’s Southern Theater said, according to Fox News.

A Chinese military spokesperson said the American vessel was followed, adding that China’s “troops in the theater are on high alert at all times to resolutely defend national sovereignty,” according to Reuters.

The Navy said it keeps the seas open for everyone.

“Every day the U.S. 7th Fleet operates in the South China Sea, as they have for decades,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement. “These operations demonstrate we are committed to upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

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