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US gives its version of incident with China involving destroyer USS Milius near Paracel Islands.

| 2023

According to information published by the US DoD on March 24, 2023, the Arleigh Burke missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) conducted an operation in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Milius during its operation near the Paracel Islands. (Picture source: US DoD)

At the conclusion of the operation, Milius exited the claim and continued operations in the South China Sea. The US called this operation a "freedom of navigation operation" or FONOP.

In their press release, they assume to have challenged the PRC’s claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands and the restrictions on passage imposed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, and Vietnam.

They target the People's Republic of China as well as Vietnam and Taiwan, each of which claims sovereignty over the Paracel Islands.

All three claimants require either permission or advance notification before a military vessel or warship engages in “innocent passage” through the territorial sea.

China had stated that the PLA Southern Theater Command organized naval and air forces, tracked, monitored, and warned away the US warship. Neither side has discussed the incident in detail.

The U.S. did not mention the expulsion of their ship by the Chinese authorities, but the latter did not say by what military means they had expelled the American destroyer.

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