When China accused the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a US naval warship, of entering disputed seas close to Second Thomas Shoal without authorization, tensions in the South China Sea increased. Chinese naval forces mobilized and tracked the American battleship after it violated China’s sovereign land, according to a statement made on Monday by the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command.
The Chinese military denounced the American move as a grave breach of China’s security and sovereignty in a sharply worded statement. They branded the United States as the main threat to stability in the South China Sea and accused it of undermining regional peace and disobeying international law.
The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, which is based in Japan, denied any infringement, notwithstanding these charges. They said that the littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords, which is skilled in coastal operations, was conducting regular operations in international waters in accordance with international law.
China and the Philippines have been at odds over territory in the Second Thomas Shoal, where Chinese and Philippine coast guard and naval warships have engaged in several skirmishes. China’s military might dwarfs that of the Philippines, which has sought assistance from the US during rising tensions.
The 7th Fleet of the United States Navy underlined its dedication to upholding an open and free Indo-Pacific area. They emphasized the significance of protecting the freedom of navigation and flight in conformity with international standards, honoring the sovereignty of all peoples, and settling conflicts amicably.
There are overlapping territorial conflicts between China and Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei as a result of China’s aggressive claims to almost the whole South China Sea, including reefs and islets. In order to preserve regional peace, the United States has long maintained a presence in these waterways, which are essential for fishing and shipping. But America’s long-standing influence in the region is coming under more and more pressure from China’s growing military might and aspirations for regional and worldwide hegemony.
The USS Gabrielle Giffords is the third ship in the Navy to be named after a living woman. It was put into service at Galveston, Texas, on June 10, 2017. Gabrielle Giffords, a former representative from Arizona, is honored by the ship.