|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Remarks on USS Lassen's Entry into Waters near Relevant Islands and Reefs of China's Nansha Islands|
Q: It is reported that the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles off Zhubi Reef of the Nansha Islands on October 27. What is China's comment on that?
A: The USS Lassen illegally entered waters near relevant islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands without the permission of the Chinese government on October 27. Relevant authorities of the Chinese side monitored, followed and warned the US vessel. Relevant actions by the US naval vessel threatened China's sovereignty and security interests, put the personnel and facilities on the islands and reefs at risk and endangered regional peace and stability. The Chinese side hereby expresses strong dissatisfaction and opposition.
The Chinese side stresses on many occasions that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China's sovereignty and relevant rights over the South China Sea have been formed over the long course of history and upheld by successive Chinese governments. Construction by the Chinese side on its own territory is in the realm of China's sovereignty. It does not target nor affect any country, and will not have any impact on the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled under international law.
The Chinese side respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled under international law, but stands firmly against the harm caused by any country to China's sovereignty and security interests under the cloak of navigation and over-flight freedom. The Chinese side is steadfast in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and security as well as lawful and justified maritime rights and interests. The Chinese side will firmly respond to any deliberate provocation by any country. We will keep a close eye on what is happening in the relevant waters and airspace and take all necessary measures as needed.
The Chinese side strongly urges the American side to take China's solemn representations seriously, put right mistakes, refrain from any dangerous or provocative actions detrimental to China's sovereignty and security interests, and honor its commitment of not taking sides on disputes over territorial sovereignty so as to avoid any further damage to China-US relations and regional peace and stability.