BEIJING: China has said that even though it respects the principles of freedom, navigation and overflight, it opposes the undermining of its sovereignty by other states under the pretext of freedom of navigation. The statement comes after a US aircraft carrier group led by USS Carl Vinson started patrolling in the disputed South China Sea Waters.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a briefing to foreign media said, "China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight all countries enjoy under international law. But we are consistently opposed to relevant countries threatening and damaging the sovereignty and security of littoral countries under the flag of freedom of navigation and overflight. We hope relevant countries can do more to safeguard regional peace and stability."
The statement was China's first official comment on the latest US patrol mission. The US Navy said in a statement that the patrol in South China Sea was a routine mission.
The deployment came a day after China completed war games with an aircraft carrier in the disputed waters and less than a week after Beijing issued a stern warning for the US to stay away from the area.