The United States and China again took on each other in a show of strength on the Fifth Anniversary of the verdict of the international tribunal on the South China Sea. A defiant China today dismissed the 2016 verdict of the international tribunal on the South China Sea, rejecting its claims over the area as a piece of waste paper and brushed aside US’ fresh backing for the judgement as a political farce to smear Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman’s remarks came as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) claimed to have expelled US Navy destroyer USS Benfold which sailed through the South China Sea (SCS), coinciding with the Fifth Anniversary of the verdict to assert freedom of navigation.
The US has been periodically conducting such naval and aerial missions through the SCS to challenge China’s claims. On the Fifth Anniversary of the international tribunal on the SCS, which had delivered a stunning blow to China’s expansive sovereignty claims over the all-important sea trade route, the Biden Administration upheld the previous Trump-era backing to the tribunal verdict.
Without authorisation from the Chinese government, the US guided-missile destroyer illegally trespassed into China”s territorial waters and the PLA Southern Theatre Command organised maritime and aerial forces to track and monitor it and warned it away, Senior Colonel Tian Junli, Spokesperson of the command, said in a statement.
In a stern warning to China, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday said that any attack on the Philippines by Beijing would draw Washington’s response under a mutual defence treaty with the Philippines.