In a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell steamed inside 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands within the southern portion of the 1.3 million sq. mile waterway, nearly all of which China claims as its sovereign territory.
“This freedom of navigation operation (“FONOP”) upheld the rights, freedoms and lawful makes use of of the ocean acknowledged in worldwide regulation by difficult illegal restrictions on harmless passage imposed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan,” Lt. Joe Keiley, a spokesman for the US Navy’s seventh Fleet, stated in a press release.
Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines even have claims within the Spratly chain, the place China has has remodeled obscure reefs and sandbars into man-made synthetic islands, fortified with missiles, runways and weapons methods.
“Illegal and sweeping maritime claims within the South China Sea pose a severe risk to the liberty of the ocean, together with freedoms of navigation and overflight, free commerce and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of financial alternative for South China Sea littoral nations,” Keiley stated within the assertion.
The US Navy operations come after US President Joe Biden described China because the US’ “most severe competitor” and outlined plans to confront Beijing’s “assault on human rights, mental property, and world governance.”
Biden additionally stated Washington was in “excessive competitors” with China.
Since assuming workplace on January 20, the Biden administration has reaffirmed its dedication to US allies and companions within the area, particularly letting the Philippines and Japan know that their islands additionally claimed by China are coated by mutual protection treaties that obligates Washington to defend them.
China claims the US naval operations within the South China Sea inflame tensions and violate its sovereignty.
The warship trespassed in Chinese language territory, “significantly violated China’s sovereignty and safety, gravely undermined regional peace and stability, and intentionally disrupted the nice environment of peace, friendship and cooperation within the South China Sea,” the report stated.