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    China Says a US Navy Ship ‘Illegally Intruded’ into Waters in the South China Sea

    China Says a US Navy Ship ‘Illegally Intruded' into Waters in the South China Sea

    BEIJING — The Chinese said that an American naval ship had “illegally intruded” on Monday into waters near the Second Thomas Shoal, the site of a hot territorial dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

    A Chinese naval force was mobilized to track the USS Gabrielle Giffords during the operation, according to a statement from the People's Liberation Southern Theater. The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said the ship “was conducting routine operations in international waters … consistent with international law.”

    Chinese and Philippine naval and coast guard ships have confronted each other repeatedly around the shoal in the Spratly Islands in recent months as China tries to prevent the Philippines from resupplying and repairing a rusting warship that it intentionally ran aground in 1999 to serve as a military outpost.

    Dwarfed by China's military might, the Philippines has sought America's help in its multiple territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. agreed to an expansion of the U.S. military presence in the country early this year and launched sea and patrols with the United States late last month.

    China accuses the U.S. of meddling in waters far from its shores and renewed its charge that America is the one raising regional tensions following the sailing of the USS Giffords near Second Thomas Shoal. The ship is a littoral combat…

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