China warns U.S. warship to leave after it sails near Xisha islands

Updated 2017-10-11 17:02:53 CGTN

Chinese warships have warned a U.S. Navy destroyer to leave after it sailed close to Xisha Islands in South China Sea during a so-called "freedom of navigation" operation, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

The islands are an inherent part of the Chinese territory, said spokesperson for the ministry Hua Chunying, noting that Beijing has lodged solemn representations with the U.S. side over the incident.

Beijing strongly urged Washington to respect China's sovereignty and security interest, the spokesperson stressed, adding that the Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend the country's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

In accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996, Hua said.

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