U.S. Navy Destroyer Warship

China accused the U.S. of violating its sovereignty and security after its decision to sail a destroyer near the Paracel Islands, which has historically been claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. 

The U.S. sailed the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius on Friday in the South China Sea “consistent with international law,” the U.S. Navy said. 

“This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, and Vietnam and also by challenging PRC’s claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands,” the military said in a statement. 

Tan Kefei, China’s Ministry of National Defense spokesman, said the “U.S. military seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, severely breached international laws, and is more ironclad evidence of the U.S. pursuing navigation hegemony and militarizing the South China Sea.”

He continued, “We solemnly request that the U.S. immediately stop such actions of provocation, otherwise it will bear the serious consequences of unexpected incidents caused by this.”

A Chinese spokesperson said the People’s Liberation Army forces chased the guided missile destroyer, which the U.S. denied.

“We solemnly request that the US. immediately stop such actions of provocation, otherwise, it will bear the serious consequences of unexpected incidents caused by this,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

TREND FORECAST: While it is purely “acceptable” for the U.S. to sail warships in the Taiwan Strait—which is never questioned by the media or U.S. ruling parties—it would be condemned as an “Act of War” if Chinese fleets flowed through the Gulf of Mexico or off the shores of America.

As the trend line moves forward, we forecast tensions between the United States and China, both economically and geopolitically, will ramp up in 2023. (See “BIDEN SAYS U.S. WILL FIGHT CHINA IF IT INVADES TAIWAN, BUT WHITE HOUSE FLACKS QUICKLY BACKTRACK” 24 May 2022, “WASHINGTON RAMPS UP WAR TENSIONS WITH CHINA: $10 BILLION IN U.S. MILITARY AID TO TAIWAN” 20 Dec 2022 and “U.S. AND AUSTRALIA RAMPING UP FIGHT WITH CHINA” 13 Dec 2022.)

Milius was in the Sea of Japan earlier last week and conducted an exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force JS Atago, USNI News.

The Global Times, the Chinese newspaper, reported that Japan is expected to hype up the “China threat theory” by calling Beijing its “greatest strategic challenge” in its upcoming annual foreign policy report, which should please the U.S. (See “CHINA WARNS JAPAN,” 17 Jan 2023.)

Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the paper on Friday that the wording is the “most confrontational expression of Japan’s position toward China since the normalization of bilateral ties.”

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