Washington D.C : US defence officials released an information about its own vessel having trespassed into disputed waters of South china Sea while sailing close to artificial islands of China. USS Lassen, the guided missile destroyer category vessel, moved waters and waded into the South China Sea breaching the 12-nautical mile zone which China has always claimed its territory located around Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago. However, US defence department claimed that the United States was conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with international law and had no intentions of territory invasion in a deliberate note. The USS Lassen was expected to be accompanied by a US Navy P-8A surveillance plane and a P-3 surveillance plane and it is anticipated that additional patrols could follow in the coming weeks from the US region.
Chinese government took to this breach as a serious trespassing adventure with security repercussions and stated that such freedom of navigation operation posed a serious challenge to China’s territorial claims. The foreign ministry in Beijing condemned it as illegal. Ministry spokesman Lu Kang described the operation as a ‘threat to China’s sovereignty’, adding that Beijing would resolutely respond to any country’s deliberately provocative actions.
China claims most of the South and East China seas and the reefs, which were submerged, were turned into islands by China under an elaborate dredging project which began in late 2013.. Other countries in South East Asia have competing claims for the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal, which are thought to have resource-rich waters around them. Although it has often been criticized of territorial invasion in waters, yet China has always maintained that work as legal and in a meeting with US President Barack Obama last month in Washington, President Xi Jinping categorically stated China had no intention to militarize the islands. International maritime law allows countries to claim ownership of the 12-nautical mile area surrounding natural islands but does not allow nations to claim ownership of submerged features that have been raised by human intervention.
But Washington differs in its opinion and believes Beijing has been constructing military facilities, designed to reinforce its disputed claim to most of the region – a major shipping zone. The US Freedom of Navigation program challenges what it deems to be excessive claims to the world’s oceans and airspace.