Chinese military criticises U.S. vessel’s “provocative moves” in the Taiwan Strait

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Zhang Xiaogang

17th May 2024 – (Beijing) In a press conference on Friday, Zhang Xiaogang, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defence, condemned the recent actions of a US military vessel, calling them “provocative moves” and suggesting that the US’s reliance on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) reveals its hegemonic intentions.

Zhang’s comments came in response to a query from the media regarding the USS Halsey, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, sailing through the Taiwan Strait and entering China’s territorial waters without permission.

“The US military vessel sailed through the Taiwan Strait, trespassed into the territorial sea and internal waters of China’s Xisha Qundao, and publicly boasted about it. The Chinese side strongly condemns and firmly opposes this action, and we have lodged solemn representations with the US side,” Zhang stated.

He further emphasized that Xisha Qundao is an integral part of China’s territory, with the baselines of its territorial sea being established by the Chinese government as early as 1996. Zhang asserted that China’s actions were in accordance with international law and established practices.

Despite not being a State Party to UNCLOS, the U.S. has repeatedly invoked the convention to raise issues and has sent military vessels to intrude upon the territorial sea and internal waters of Xisha Qundao, Zhang pointed out.

“These provocative moves violate China’s sovereignty, pose a threat to our national security, and undermine regional peace and stability. They are indicative of typical hegemonic behavior,” Zhang remarked.

He concluded by stating that the People’s Liberation Army will remain on high alert, taking decisive countermeasures against any encroachments or provocations, and will staunchly defend China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.