China: US military presence in South China Sea a threat to peace, stability
The Chinese government on Monday responded to a U.S. carrier group entering the South China Sea, saying the action was “not conducive to peace and stability.”
“The United States frequently sends aircraft and vessels into the South China Sea to flex its muscles,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, Reuters reports.
“This is not conducive to peace and stability in the region,” he added.
On Sunday, the USS Theodore Roosevelt along with several other U.S. warships entered the South China Sea as part of an effort to promote “freedom of the seas,” officials said, amid rising tension between Beijing and Taiwan. The island nation reported the presence of Chinese bombers and fighter jets in its air defense identification zone the same day the U.S. ships arrived.
Zhao on Monday reportedly did not provide an explanation as to why the Chinese aircraft were in Taiwanese airspace, but affirmed Beijing’s stance claiming Taiwan as one of its territories and stated the U.S. should observe its “one China” policy.
The U.S. does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but before he left office, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lifted a decades-long rule that restricted U.S. and Taiwanese government officials from meeting.
The move was one of several Pompeo took that likely drew the ire of Beijing. He also strengthened ties with several countries in Southeast Asia such as the Maldives and the Philippines, moves that were seen by many as the U.S. bolstering its presence in the region against China.
The Chinese government has long complained of the presence of U.S. Navy ships in the southern sea where it occupies several islands, Reuters noted.
On Monday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited an air base and praised personnel, according to the news service.
“From last year until now, our radar station has detected nearly 2,000 communist aircraft and more than 400 communist ships, allowing us to quickly monitor and drive them away, and fully guard the sea and airspace,” she told officers.
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