China ‘warns off’ US destroyer near South China Sea’s strategic Scarborough Shoal


China accuses USA of violating its sovereignty because it has sighted a US Navy destroyer near a group of disputed islets in the South China Sea. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Saturday that the USS Hopper missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Scarborough Shoal, called Huangyan Island in China, in the South China Sea on Wednesday night. The shoal off the western coast of the Philippines is seen as a strategic point among the claimants China and USA because it is within easy striking distance of US forces stationed in the Philippines. The US does not claim sovereignty of the waters but says it has the right to conduct freedom-of-navigation operations in the area.

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