The United States has just challenged China’s dominion in the South China Sea by dispatching a U.S. destroyer on Thursday to sail close to one of the artificial islands China has created to show dominance in the region.
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain — named after the father and grandfather of Senator John McCain — came within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, an artificial island that also includes a runway and defensive walls the communist government of China has constructed to intimidate its immediate neighboring countries.
BREAKING: US Navy destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of Chinese island in the South China Sea in a ‘freedom of navigation operation’
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) August 10, 2017
The U.S. navy sent out a P-8 reconnaissance jet to oversee the Thursday military operation.
Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines have also sought claims in those waters where approximately $5 trillion in trade passes through there every year.
Back in May, the USS Dewey, another guided missile vessel, also cruised past Mischief Reef. Back then, China issued an adamant protest for the move, unlike now.
“This behavior by the United States military is a show of force to promote the militarization in the region, and would very easily lead to accidents on the sea and in the air,” said Sr. Col. Ren Guoqiang in a statement.
But the Pentagon has vowed to increase its presence in the region and has made good on its promise.
“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” said Maj. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson in May.
“We have a comprehensive freedom of navigation operations program that seeks to challenge excessive maritime claims in order to preserve the rights, freedoms and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law,” Davis added.
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