The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday expelled a US warship that trespassed into Chinese territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, and the US operation amid the COVID-19 pandemic showed the US is the source that sabotages peace and stability in the South China Sea, a Chinese military spokesperson said on Thursday.
US provocations like this proved China's increased defense budget is well justified, analysts said.
The PLA Southern Theater Command organized naval and aerial forces to follow the US guided missile destroyer USS Mustin when it illegally trespassed into China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands on Thursday without authorization from the Chinese government, said Senior Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesperson of the PLA Southern Theater Command, on Tuesday.
The PLA Southern Theater Command troops followed and monitored its course, identified the ship, warned and expelled it, Li said.
This provocative move, a naked hegemonic navigational action, seriously violated China's sovereignty and security interests and related international law and norms, and seriously sabotaged peace and stability in the South China Sea region, the spokesperson said.
This is not the first time the PLA has expelled a US warship from the South China Sea this year. Similar incidents occurred in late January with the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery near the Nansha Islands; in early March with the destroyer USS McCampbell near the Xisha Islands and in late April with the destroyer USS Barry also near the Xisha Islands.
While the US is attempting to make such operations routine, the PLA has showed it is ready and able to stop these US military actions, a Chinese military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Thursday.
In a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, the US is disregarding its people's safety and not focusing on domestic epidemic control, nor is it contributing to global pandemic control, but sending warships over a great distance to the South China Sea to show off its strength and cause trouble, spokesperson Li said.
This shows the US' hypocritical nature of talking in one way and acting in another, and fully demonstrated that the US military is the source of disaster sabotaging peace and stability in the South China Sea, Li said.
China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and nearby waters, and Chinese troops are always on high alert and will take any necessary measure to resolutely fulfil their duty, safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea, Li said.
China just announced a 6.6 percent rise in its defense budget for 2020 on May 22.
China takes both its economic situation and national defense demands into account when setting the scale and allocation of its military expenditure, and repeated US military provocations near China and some even into Chinese territory have obviously threatened China's national security, the anonymous expert said.
The moderate and steady increase in the nation's defense expenditure is right, proper and necessary, Wu Qian, spokesperson for the PLA and People's Armed Police Force delegation to the 3rd session of the 13th National People's Congress, said on Tuesday.
Hegemony and power politics grow from time to time, as some countries are practicing unilateralism, geopolitical risks are rising, and the international security system and order are being challenged, and China's homeland security and overseas interests are also facing some real threats, Wu said, noting that China must have a clear mind when it comes to national defense and be prepared for danger in peace time.