China Claims US Warship 'Illegally' Entered Territorial Waters

Image copyright: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • The Chinese military said on Thursday it had dispatched naval and air forces to track a US warship and "warned it to leave" waters in the disputed South China Sea, which Beijing claims as its territory.

  • The People's Liberation Army's Southern Theater Command claimed that the guided-missile destroyer USS Milieus illegally entered Chinese territorial waters around the Paracel Islands, undermining 'peace and stability' as well as China's national sovereignty.

The Spin

Pro-China narrative

This incident is just the latest example of the US desperately trying to provoke China on its own doorstep by denying its sovereignty and legitimate claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Washington is simultaneously trying to portray China as a threat, and seeking to continue dominating the world through militarism and intimidation. Nevertheless, whatever Washington cooks up in China, it has itself created an adversary that will not back down.

Anti-China narrative

There are no grounds to China's accusations that the US illegally entered its territorial waters because it lacks any legal basis for its extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea, including over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Moreover, Beijing is continuing to militarize its disputed maritime outposts and advance its interests in the region by intimidating its Asian neighbors. The US is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific and remains the only power to keep China within its limits.

Narrative C

The only reasonable way to resolve disputes over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea is through talks between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors. It is welcome, given increasing US-China tensions, that Beijing and the ASEAN regional bloc have expressed their commitment to negotiations toward an effective code of conduct to safeguard peace and stability that can take place without the input of Washington.

Metaculus Prediction

Establishment split



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