BEIJING, May 20 (ChinaMil) -- The US guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG-88) intruded into the waters adjacent to China's territorial islands and reefs in the South China Sea in the morning of May 20 without permission of the Chinese government, said Senior Colonel Li Huamin, spokesman for the PLA Southern Theater Command Monday.
Li said that in response, the PLA Southern Theater Command soon sent naval ships and air force aircraft to conduct identification and verification of the US warship according to laws and regulations and warned it to leave.
Under the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been steadily improving, Li said. The provocation of the US warship endangered the safety of ships, aircraft and personnel of both sides, undermined China's sovereignty and security, violated the basic norms governing international relations and sabotaged regional peace and stability, he added.
“China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, and we are firmly opposed to the provocative behavior of the US warship”, Li stressed. The spokesman said that the troops of the PLA Southern Theater Command will be kept on high alert and take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty and security, and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.