USS Hopper “illegally intruded” into Chinese waters, according to Beijing FILE PHOTO: The guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper © US Navy / Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard

The Chinese military has chased away a United States warship near the disputed Xisha/Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army said on Saturday, calling Washington a “security risk maker” and the “biggest destroyer” of peace and stability in the region.

The breach of China’s territorial waters by the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper “severely jeopardized” Beijing’s sovereignty, once again proved that Washington is seeking “navigation hegemony” and “militarization” of the South China Sea, said spokesman for the PLA’s Southern Theater Command, senior colonel Tian Junli.

The Chinese military deployed “air and naval forces to follow and monitor” the intruder, and “drove it away according to law,” CGTN reports. The Pentagon has yet to comment on the incident.

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The Xisha islands are a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, which is de-facto governed by China. Known internationally as the Paracel Islands, they are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Washington does not recognize China’s sovereignty of the islands and has repeatedly called it “unlawful” and posing “a serious threat to the freedom of the seas.”

Similar incidents with American warships “caught trespassing” near the Paracel Islands have happened before. Destroyer USS Milius was “warned away” from the region by the Chinese Navy in March this year, while USS Benfold was chased away twice in 2022. (RT)