BEIJING (Reuters) – China's main newspaper, which criticized Washington for creating problems, said on Monday that the US moves in the South China Sea will make China strengthen its deployments in the disputed waterway.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the USS Hopper destroyer was 12 nautical miles from Huangyan Island, which is better known as Scarborough Shoal and is subject to a rival claim from the Philippines, a historic ally of the United States. United.
It was the last US naval operation UU That challenged extensive Chinese claims in the South China Sea and came even when the administration of President Donald Trump seeks Chinese cooperation to deal with the missile and nuclear programs of North Korea.
The official People's Daily of the Communist Party said in a comment that, as the situation in general was improving in the South China Sea, it was clear that the United States militarized the region.
"In this context of peace and cooperation, a ship from the US that caused problems with no desire has a firm mind to the point of imprudence," the newspaper said.
"If the relevant party creates problems again and provokes tensions, it will only cause China to reach this conclusion: to seriously protect peace in the South China Sea, China must strengthen and accelerate the construction of its skills there" , He said.
The commentary was published under the pseudonym "Zhong Sheng", which means "Voice of China", which is often used to give an opinion of the newspaper on foreign policy issues.
Scarborough Shoal is located within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, but an international court in 2016 ruled that it is a traditional fishing ground that no country has the exclusive right to exploit.
The US Army UU He says he conducts "freedom of navigation" operations around the world, even in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separated from political considerations.
The Pentagon has not commented directly on the last patrol, but said such operations are routine.
Information of Ben Blanchard; Paul Tait edition