China’s military accuses the U.S. Navy of illegally entering waters near the Second Thomas Shoal, a disputed South China Sea atoll.
The Southern Theater of Operations spokesperson claims the U.S. action undermines regional peace, disrupts the South China Sea, and violates China’s sovereignty.
The U.S. Navy, represented by the USS Gabrielle Giffords, asserts it was conducting routine operations in international waters, emphasizing its commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Tensions persist as China disputes territorial waters with multiple neighbors in the South China Sea.
The recent incident involves the Renai Reef, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, situated in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as ruled by a 2016 UN tribunal.