China urges Australia to stop provocations in the South China Sea
China is urging Canberra to stop dangerous provocations after intercepting an Australian military aircraft in the airspace in the South China Sea, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Australian Department of Defense reported that a Chinese military aircraft intercepted an Australian aircraft in the airspace in the South China Sea on May 26, which endangered the safety of the Australian aircraft and its crew.
"An Australian P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft entered the airspace near the Chinese Xisha archipelago (Paracel Islands) on May 26 to conduct reconnaissance activities, it ignored repeated warnings from the Chinese side and continued to approach the airspace of the Xisha archipelago," said Tan Kefei, words quoted by the Chinese Defense Ministry.
The Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman added that the Navy and Air Force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Combat Command Southern Zone had identified the Australian aircraft and issued a warning to leave the area.
"The Australian aircraft posed a serious threat to China's sovereignty and security, and the Chinese military's response was professional, safe, rational and lawful," he said.
Tan Kefei urged Australia to "immediately stop such dangerous provocative actions, strictly limit the activities of its navy and air force, otherwise the country will be responsible for all the serious consequences arising from this."
For decades, Beijing has been arguing with several countries in the Asia-Pacific region over the territorial ownership of a number of islands in the South China Sea, on the shelf of which significant hydrocarbon reserves have been discovered. We are talking primarily about the Xisha archipelago (Paracel Islands), the Spratly Islands, one of which is the island of Pag-asa (Titu), and Huangyan (Scarborough Reef). Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines are involved to varying degrees in this dispute.
The situation in the region is often complicated by the passage of US warships, which, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, violate international law and undermine China's sovereignty and security. Despite protests from Beijing, official Washington declared that the United States would "float and fly" wherever international law permitted it.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in July 2016, following a lawsuit filed by the Philippines, that China had no grounds for territorial claims in the South China Sea. The court decided that the disputed territories of the Spratly (Nansha) archipelago are not islands and do not form an exclusive economic zone. Then Beijing replied that it does not consider the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague valid, does not recognize and does not accept it.