China on Tuesday condemned trespassing by a United States warship in China's territorial waters and urged Washington to cease military operations detrimental to regional security, peace and stability.
Senior Colonel Li Huamin, spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater Command, said that the destroyer USS Barry illegally entered China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday without permission from the Chinese government.
The PLA Southern Theater Command deployed air and naval forces to monitor the ship and verify its identity and warned it to leave, Li said.
A similar illegal incursion happened last month, when the USS McCampbell sailed into waters off the Xisha Islands on March 10, and the act was labeled by Beijing as hegemonic behavior.
The provocative practice of the U.S. violated international law and infringed on China's sovereignty and security interests, Li said, adding that it increased security risks in the region and was prone to cause unexpected incidents.
Such moves are incompatible with the international fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and go against the willingness of regional countries to jointly maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea, he said.
The PLA Southern Theater Command will resolutely fulfill its mission to safeguard national sovereignty and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, he added.
Li urged the U.S. to focus more on curbing the novel coronavirus at the domestic level, and to do more to promote international anti-epidemic work.
Also on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry urged U.S. politicians to find ways to control the pandemic as soon as possible instead of shifting blame after U.S. President Donald Trump said that he may seek damages from China over the coronavirus outbreak.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that some U.S. politicians repeatedly distort the facts, attempting to deflect attention from their insufficient response to the virus at home.
"Attempts to shift the blame to China will not wipe out China's efforts in combating the virus," Geng said. Such attempts are not conducive to pandemic prevention work in the U.S., he said, asking certain U.S. politicians to reflect on their nation's own problems.