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U.S. responds to China's claim of illegal entry by destroyer

U.S. responds to China's claim of illegal entry by destroyer China says the US destroyer allegedly entered its territorial waters illegally (Photo: Getty Images)

The Chinese Ministry of Defense reported that the U.S. destroyer USS Hopper entered its territorial waters without prior approval from the Chinese government, according to Reuters.

Following Beijing's accusations that the Philippines have engaged "foreign forces" to patrol the South China Sea, the Chinese military deployed its naval and air forces to "track, observe and warn the destroyer."

The statement, released by China's defense ministry, comes several days after the joint patrols conducted by the U.S. and Philippine navies since Tuesday.

The United States' response to China

The U.S. Navy announced that the U.S. missile destroyer followed international law in the Xisha archipelago (Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea.

The press service of the U.S. Seventh Fleet stated that the USS Hopper protected navigation and freedom rights in the South China Sea. After dealing with excessive harassment, it proceeded with its operations.

The operation aimed to uphold the rights, freedoms, and legitimate uses of the sea by addressing restrictions on peaceful passage imposed by the PRC, Taiwan, and Vietnam, as stated in the announcement.

What happened before

In October, a Chinese coast guard vessel collided with a Philippine boat. Shortly afterward, during the same resupply operation in the South China Sea, a Chinese maritime police boat collided with a Philippine coast guard vessel. Subsequently, the Philippines accused Beijing of encroaching on their territory.

U.S. President Joe Biden cautioned China that if they attacked Philippine ships, the United States would be compelled to intervene.

Sometime later, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that his country, along with the Philippines and the United States, had initiated collaborative efforts to safeguard the freedom of the South China Sea against Beijing's aggressive actions.