US destroyer challenges China’s claims in South China Sea

The operation came as President Donald Trump's administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.

By: Reuters | Washington | Published:August 10, 2017 5:55 pm
US destroyer challenges, claims in South China Sea, China's claim, President Donald Trump, world news, Indian express news The operation came as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance. (Source: File Photo)

A US Navy destroyer carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, US officials told Reuters. The operation came as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.

It was the third “freedom of navigation operation” or “fonop” conducted during Trump’s presidency. Neither China’s defence ministry nor its foreign ministry immediately responded to a request for comment. The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China’s cooperation to rein in North Korea. Tensions have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests last year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of UN sanctions which angered Pyongyang who threatened to teach the United States a “severe lesson”.

Trump in turn responded by warning North Korea it would face “fire and fury” if it further threatened the United States.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning to North Korea on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang that it should stop any actions that would lead to the “end of its regime and the destruction of its people.” The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations. The Trump administration has vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations. In July, a US warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam.

Experts and officials have criticized President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China’s claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping. China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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  1. L
    L bhadrapati Devi
    Aug 10, 2017 at 8:18 pm
    World War III is knocking at our door. USA is meddling in the dirty water of South China Sea. USA has no stake in the water of SCS why so warring? Indo-China border dispute may also be directed by USA.
    Reply
    1. M
      madhusudan Bangalore
      Aug 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm
      The main culprit is China who is behind evil designs of North Korea and Pakistan to counter the USA and India. All illegal activities against India and USA are designed by China which is executed with help of Pakistan and North Korea. So there is urgent need to impose the total ban on goods from China and all countries of the world must stop the import of Chinese goods in their country with immediate effect if they are really interested to save the world from the nuclear war which will destroy humanity on earth. China is imposing war on India which will ultimately turn into a full-fledged nuclear war which will completely shatter Chinese dream of No.1 economic power in the world. The USA will destroy Chinese military base in the South China Sea.
      Reply
      1. K
        Kamal Pasha
        Aug 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm
        Madhusudan : You are very angry today. US is also helping you to fight their war with China.
        Reply
        1. A
          asit guin
          Aug 11, 2017 at 9:25 am
          World is at a dangerous crossroads. US are seeking a pretext to wage war on North Korea. History of 1950s Korean War confirms that extensive war crimes were committed against Korean people. As confirmed by statement of US General Curtis Lemay: Over a period of three years or so we killed 20 percent of population. North Korea lost close to 30 percent of its population as a result of US led bombings in 1950s. US military sources confirmed 20 percent, after destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages. Perhaps an unprecedented of mortality suffered by one nation due to belligerence of another During World War two, UK lost 0.94 percent of its population, France lost 1.35 percent, China lost 1.89 percent and the US lost 0.32 percent. During Korean War, North Korea lost close to 30 percent of its population.