THE Chinese military went on high alert in the South China Sea (SCS) after they reported the presence of a US warship entering near the waters off Ayungin Shoal (international name: Second Thomas Shoal; China name: Ren’ai Jiao) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Monday.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command said the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) was seen within the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal on Monday.
Gabrielle Giffords is a littoral combat ship that is known to be fast, agile and capable of operating in both open-ocean as well as coastal areas to deal with submarines, mines and swarming small of small vessels.
The Chinese military followed and monitored a US warship that “illegally entered” the waters near Ren’ai Jiao in China’s Nansha Qundao, Senior Colonel Tian Junli, spokesperson for the PLA Southern Theater Command, said in a statement on Monday.
“On December 4, the USS Giffords littoral combat ship illegally broke into the waters adjacent to Ren’ai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands without the approval of the Chinese government. Troops were on guard throughout the entire process,” he said.
The Air Force officer also accused the US of “deliberately” disrupting security and stability in the SCS.
He added the US “seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, severely undermined regional peace and stability, and seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations.”
The military official reiterated, “China has indisputable sovereignty” over the SCS islands and adjacent waters.
“This fully demonstrates that the United States is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea. China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and adjacent waters,” the Chinese military said.
The Philippine Navy has intentionally grounded its World War II vintage ship, BRP Sierra Madre, in Ayungin Shoal and deploys Philippine Marine contingent to stay on the ship. Rationing of food and other necessities for soldiers were constantly being blocking by the Chinese Navy, Coast Guard and militia.