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International News

Oct 01, 2018
6:40AM

US warship sails near South China Sea area claimed by Beijing: Pentagon

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An American warship has sailed through waters off the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in the latest implicit challenge to Beijing's sweeping territorial claims in the region.

The Pentagon said this Sunday.  An official told AFP that Guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur conducted a freedom of navigation operation.  The official said that Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands. 

The official said all US military operations in the area are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows. The 12-mile distance is commonly accepted as constituting the territorial waters of a landmass.  Beijing claims all of the Spratly chain.

There was no immediate reaction from China, but a similar US operation in July, involving the disputed Paracel islands, prompted a furious Beijing to deploy military vessels and fighter jets.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

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