By Meryem Betül Kebap
China drove away a United States warship from the South China Sea on the fifth anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in the Hague, which was ruled to have no rights in the South China Sea, reported by wn.com.
China’s claims on the South China Sea were rejected in 2016 by the decision held in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. The reason of rejection was breaching the sovereignty of the Philippines.
China does not recognize the decision of the court. On the anniversary of the court ‘s decision, China said that it drove away the US warship; Benfold, from the South China Sea, which entered the Paracel Islands without the permission of China.
“Benfold entered the South China Sea without the permission of China, violated China’s sovereignty and undermined the stability in the South China Sea,” Beijing said in a statement, and added “We call on the United States to cease such provocative acts.”
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. China is building military bases in the region to strengthen its claim. The trade volume of the other states, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, in the South China Sea is about US$5 trillion a year.
The US said in a statement that Benfold was there to benefit international navigation rights and freedoms. The US also stated that under international law, ships, including warships have the right of innocent passage.
“Under international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), the ships of all states, including their warships, enjoy the right of innocent passage through territorial seas.” the US Navy added.
The US warned China to obey the Court’s decision. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last year that he would protect the Philippines from any conflicts in the South China Sea as a part of bilateral military agreements with the Philippines.
Blinken said: “We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,”
Blinken urged the Chinese government to comply with international law and put an end to its provocative behavior.
According to the CNN report, Beijing rejected the court’s decision and continued to operate and militarily strengthen its activities in the South China Sea. Beijing claims that once the US and other countries are sending warships to the region, this violates China’s sovereignty, and thus raising tensions.