Theodore's World: U.S. navigates near Spratly islands in South China Sea, challenging Beijing’s claim of sovereign territory

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October 27, 2015

U.S. navigates near Spratly islands in South China Sea, challenging Beijing’s claim of sovereign territory

U.S. navigates near Spratly islands in South China Sea, challenging Beijing’s claim of sovereign territory

USS Lassen navigates near Spratly islands in South China Sea, crossing area Beijing claims as part of its sovereign territory

WASHINGTON—A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands claimed by China, in a direct challenge to Beijing that raises the stakes in an expanding, multination territorial dispute.

The USS Lassen conducted a patrol early Tuesday morning within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef, one of the land masses to which China lays claim within the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, an area that China maintains is part of its sovereign territory.

International convention allows countries to claim territorial waters within 12 nautical miles of their coastal territory, but the U.S. and many other countries don’t recognize China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea. Thus U.S. officials labeled Monday’s operation a “freedom of navigation” exercise.

“We have been clear that we take no position on competing territorial sovereignty claims to land features in the South China Sea,” a defense official said. “We will fly, sail and operate anywhere in the world that international law allows.”

Several U.S. defense officials said the navigation through the islands wasn’t a one-time operation, and that the U.S. Navy would continue to sail through waters claimed by Beijing.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that his government was still trying to verify media reports about the U.S. operation, according to a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website. “If true, we advise the U.S. to think carefully before acting, not to take reckless action and not to make trouble out of nothing,” the statement quoted Mr. Wang as saying.

While the U.S. has long said it doesn’t take sides in the territorial dispute over the Spratlys, the American ship’s passage through the area is significant as a signal of Washington’s view that some of China’s artificial islands have no right to territorial waters because they were built on reefs that used to be submerged at high tide

President Barack Obama has pledged to uphold the right of American vessels to travel through international waters despite what the U.S. sees as unfounded claims by other countries, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

“This is a critically important principle, particularly in the South China Sea, because there are billions of dollars of commerce that flow through that region of the world every year, and maybe even more than that,” Mr. Earnest said.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who has publicly scolded Beijing for its island-building campaign, has been blunt on the issue, saying the U.S. would sail its ships wherever and whenever it wants within international waters. Senior U.S. military officials, including Adm. Harry Harris, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, have urged the U.S. to proceed with the operation.

“I agree that the South China Sea is no more China’s than the Gulf of Mexico is Mexico’s,” Adm. Harris told a Senate panel in September. “I think that we must exercise our freedom of navigation throughout the region.”

Wild Thing's comment.................

China is a lot like Islam they want to take over the world with their building islands it seems.

Posted by Wild Thing at October 27, 2015 12:45 AM


Most everything we buy is made in China. Go to any auto parts store and you'll see most parts come from China. Since most of our manufacturing went to China, do we realize just how bad China could hurt us if they get pissed.

Posted by: BobF at October 27, 2015 08:28 AM