According to reports, a US Navy warship sailed within 12 miles of an artificial island built up by China, Wednesday, challenging Beijing’s claims to the South China sea. This is the first time such has happened since President Trump assumed office in January.
The ship, USS Dewey passed near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, a waterway China has territorial disputes over. This move on the part of Trump’s administration is likely to raise concerns on Beijing’s continued cooperation to help the US put a stop to North Korea’s nuclear program.
The United states does not accept China’s claim of sovereignty to the 12 miles surrounding the artificial islands, the conventional limit for territorial waters. This U.S. patrol is the first since October, and is a way Washington defies Beijing’s claim to the waters which it sees as limiting freedom of navigation in the waters.
The U.S military maintains their stand that they carry out similar operations all over the world. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement. “We operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea. We operate in accordance with international law “.
Lu Kang , Spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Thursday said that Chinese vessels around the Spratly Islands “identified and warned” the American warship to leave. He also said that Beijing was “strongly dissatisfied” with the operation, particularly at a moment when the situation in the South China Sea was “cooling down.
The situation he referred to in that statement is the current situation between China and the Phillipines, an American ally over the status of Islands in the region.