|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Remarks|
Q: We've learnt that on the night of January 17, the USS Hopper missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles off Huangyan Dao from its southwest side. What is your comment?
A: On the night of January 17, the USS Hopper missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles off China's Huangyan Dao without gaining permission from the Chinese government. The Chinese Navy carried out identification and verification procedures in accordance with law and warned the US vessel to leave. What the US vessel did violated China's sovereignty and security interests, put the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel who were in the relevant waters for official duties under grave threat, and contravened the basic norms for international relations. China is strongly dissatisfied with that and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty.
China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Dao and the adjacent waters. China always respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea all countries are entitled to under international law. But we firmly oppose any country using navigation and overflight freedom as an excuse to hurt China's sovereignty and security interests. We strongly urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake and stop making such provocative moves so as to avoid undermining China-US relations and regional peace and stability.