TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command said on Monday (July 12) that the USS Benfold trespassed in its territorial waters and demanded the U.S. cease its provocations in the South China Sea.
In a statement shared via its official WeChat account, the PLA said that the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer on Monday sailed into waters near the Paracel Islands, which it claims as its own territory. The Southern Theater Command dispatched naval and air forces to monitor the American vessel and issue warnings to drive it away.
"The U.S. military's actions have seriously violated China's sovereignty and security, severely undermined the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and seriously violated international law and the norms of international relations,” CNA reported. It added that this intrusion demonstrates American aggression and its militarization of the South China Sea.
The PLA accused the U.S. of being a source of security risks in the South China Sea and condemned its action. It also called on Washington to stop its "provocative behavior" immediately and limit its naval and air force activities, adding, “The U.S. shall bear all the consequences it causes."
The PLA said that its troops in all its theater commands are constantly on high alert and are committed to defending China’s sovereignty and security, as well as maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.