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Tensions Rise as US Navy Ship Enters Disputed Waters in South China Sea

In a recent incident, China’s military accused a US Navy ship of unlawfully entering waters near the Second Thomas Shoal, a contested atoll in the South China Sea. The situation has escalated, with both sides presenting conflicting narratives.

China’s Perspective:

According to China’s Southern Theater of Operations, the US action has seriously disrupted regional peace and stability. They claim that the US violated China’s sovereignty and disturbed the South China Sea. China, entangled in territorial disputes with neighboring countries, perceives such actions as threats to its interests.

The Chinese military spokesperson mentioned that the US ship, USS Gabrielle Giffords, was closely monitored and followed. China reaffirms its dedication to safeguarding national sovereignty, particularly in regions such as the Second Thomas Shoal within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, as per a 2016 decision by the United Nations tribunal.

US Response:

The US Navy countered, stating that the USS Gabrielle Giffords was conducting routine operations in international waters, adhering to international law. The US emphasizes its longstanding presence in the South China Sea, framing these operations as a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

China reiterates its commitment to uphold national sovereignty, especially in areas like the Second Thomas Shoal. In 2016, a UN tribunal decision acknowledged this area as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

This incident follows months of tension, with China’s encounters with Philippine vessels and protests against US patrols in disputed areas. The Philippines reacts to increased Chinese maritime militia activity by deploying two Coast Guard ships in its exclusive economic zone.


As both nations stand firm in their positions, the situation underscores the ongoing complexities and competing interests in the South China Sea. It remains a hotspot for geopolitical tensions, with repercussions that extend beyond the immediate parties involved.

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