- US navy ship being prepared to sail near China’s fake islands
- China’s Foreign Ministry is “seriously concerned”
- Washington urged by Beijing to be “fair and objective”
MANILA, Philippines – Amid reports of the United States sending in a warship to sail near one of its artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, China’s foreign ministry urged Washington to reconsider its move.
In a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the purported US plan has caused great worry in her country.
“I have not noticed the latest report you have mentioned. However, having heard what you said, we express serious concern about it,” the Philippine Star quoted her as saying.
Hua also urged the US to be more proactive rather than confrontational with China.
“I believe the US side is extremely clear about China’s relevant principled stance,” she said. “We hope the US side can objectively and fairly view the current situation in the [West Philippine] Sea and with China, genuinely play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the [West Philippine] Sea.”
Earlier, the Navy Times reported that the US Navy will soon receive the green light to sail one of its ships inside the 12-nautical mile limit in one of China’s man-made islands in the West Philippine Sea.
While no specific date has been given for the mission, the past rhetoric of US officials means it will be likely launched in the near future.
High-ranking US officials such as President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, and Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift have repeatedly expressed their country’s non-recognition of China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea along with the promise to ensure freedom of navigation in the area.
China’s construction of artificial islands and all-encompassing claim over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea have created tensions with its rival claimants and neighbors in the region.