Beijing: The Chinese military on Thursday asked the US to stop “close-in reconnaissance, interference, provocation” in the disputed South China Sea after the recent accident involving an American nuclear-powered submarine in the region.

The USS Connecticut struck an object underwater in the South China Sea (SCS) last month. Eleven sailors on board the submarine were injured in the accident.

Commenting on the US Navy dismissing two senior officers of the nuclear-powered attack submarine, Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesman Sr. Col Wu Qian told media here that since the collision occurred, the US side's awkward and secretive attitude has inevitably raised doubts.

Raising several questions over the activities of the submarine, Wu said, “China believes the root

causes of this incident are the extensive and high-intensity close-in reconnaissance, interference, provocation and show of force made by the US military vessels in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the United States' militarisation and navigation hegemony in the South China Sea”.

“We urge the US side to stop such activities immediately, so as to avoid beating its head against the wall,” Wu said.

The US in recent years has intensified aerial and naval patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation.

China claims most of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.          

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