The US vice president, Mike Pence, warned Beijing today that Washington will not be "intimidated" by the incident between two ships of both countries in the South China Sea, and defended its right to navigate those waters, that the Government Chinese claims as part of its sovereignty.
In a speech, Pence referred to the increase in tensions between the Armed Forces of the two powers after the entry last Sunday of the USS Decatur missile destroyer in the waters of the South China Sea.
"China displayed its aggression this week, when a Chinese naval vessel approached 45 yards (41 meters) from the USS Decatur when it was carrying out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to maneuver quickly to avoid a collision, "said Pence.
"Despite this reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue flying, navigating and operating where permitted by international law and demanded by our national interests, we will not be intimidated, we will not give a truce," the vice president added. Hudson Institute studies.
Pence denounced that China has been marked as a priority "the erosion of the military advantages of the United States on land, sea, air and space."
"China wants nothing more and nothing less than to push the United States of America out of the Western Pacific, and try to prevent us from helping our allies," he said.
The Chinese Government has described the incident in the South China Sea in terms different from those outlined by Pence, by ensuring that a Chinese Navy vessel identified the US vessel and acted in accordance with the law, warning the vessel that I had to leave those waters claimed by Beijing.
"The US has sent warships to waters near the Chinese islands and reefs of the South China Sea time and time again, posing a serious threat to China's sovereignty and security, severely damaging the relations between the two armies, "said Wu Qian, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
China maintains disputes with its neighbors over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea, such as the Spratly or Paracel, and also faces Tokyo over the Senkaku archipelago (Diaoyu in Chinese), administered by Japan but claimed by the Asian giant.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis canceled a trip he planned to take to China this month to discuss security issues, due to growing tension between the two countries, Pentagon sources told Efe.