On July 12, China’s state-run CGTN reported the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had “expelled” a U.S. destroyer from what it described as “China's territorial waters."
The incident allegedly occurred near the Paracel Islands, a disputed South China Sea archipelago claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
CGTN cited PLA Southern Theater Command spokesperson Tian Junli as calling the presence of the U.S. warship in the region a violation of international law.
“Tian said the U.S. military's act has seriously undermined China's sovereignty and security interests, damaged the peace and stability in the South China Sea region, and violated the international law and basic norms governing international relations,” CGTN reported.
“It's another proof of American hegemony, he [Tian] stressed, adding that this also proves that the U.S. military is the source of security risks in the South China Sea region.”
China’s claim that the U.S. Navy violated international law is false. In fact, USS Benfold was exercising its right of innocent passage guaranteed under international law.