South China Sea: US mulls sending planes, ships near disputed islands

Reclamation work by China on Mischief Reef in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea.

 

Washington: The Pentagon is considering sending US military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around rapidly growing Chinese-made artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, a US official said on Tuesday.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter requested options that included sending US military ships and aircraft within 22 kilometres of reefs that China had been building up in the disputed Spratly Islands, the official said.

Such a move would directly challenge Chinese efforts to expand its influence in the disputed region by literally adding territory through a massive island-building exercise. Continue reading