Published: 10:08, May 18, 2024
China slams provocative US naval moves, invocation of UNCLOS
By Xinhua
Zhang Xiaogang, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, speaks at a press briefing in Beijing, China, Dec 14, 2023. (PHOTO / MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, CHINA)

BEIJING – A Chinese military spokesperson on Friday slammed a US military vessel's recent "provocative moves," stating that the US side's invocation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) reveals its hegemonic nature.

Zhang Xiaogang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, made the remarks at a press conference in response to a media query about US guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey's sailing through the Taiwan Strait and trespassing into China's territorial sea.

"The US military vessel sailed through the Taiwan Strait, trespassed into the territorial sea and internal waters of China's Xisha Qundao, and publicly hyped the move. The Chinese side strongly deplores and firmly opposes this and has lodged solemn representations with the US side," Zhang said.

"Xisha Qundao is China's inherent territory. The Chinese government released the baselines of the territorial sea of Xisha Qundao as early as 1996. What we did was in line with international law and practices," he said.

"The US side is not a State Party to UNCLOS, but it has repeatedly invoked the Convention to make an issue of it, and even sent military vessels to intrude into the territorial sea and internal waters of Xisha Qundao," Zhang noted.

Such provocative moves violate China's sovereignty, threaten its national security, and undermine regional peace and stability, he said, adding that they are typical behaviors of hegemony.

"The People's Liberation Army will remain on high alert, take resolute countermeasures against any infringement and provocations, and firmly safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity," he added.

‘Taiwan independence’ activities

On a query about recent military interactions between the US and Taiwan region, Zhang said China will resolutely and decisively counter all activities and external support of "Taiwan independence".

He urged the US to be fully aware of the sensitivity of the Taiwan question, cease any form of official exchanges and military contacts with the Taiwan region, and refrain from sending wrong signals to the separatists advocating "Taiwan independence".

He also warned that the attempts made by Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party authorities to seek independence with the support of the US and resist reunification with force are doomed to fail.