WASHINGTON–A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of an island claimed by China and two other nations in the South China Sea on Jan 30, in an operation the Pentagon said aimed to challenge efforts to restrict freedom of navigation.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.
Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said no ships from China’s military were in the vicinity of the USS Curtis Wilbur when it passed near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands.
“This operation challenged attempts by the three claimants – China, Taiwan and Vietnam – to restrict navigation rights and freedoms,” Davis said, reflecting the U.S. position that the crucial sea lane should be treated as international waters.
Full article: U.S. warship sails near island claimed by China in South China Sea (The Asahi Shimbun)