Communist China has been laying claim to most of the South China Sea for decades. It has created artificial islands in disputed territories in the face of international conventions to the contrary. It claims it needs these for defense but also claims they are not military installation. Only communists can have it both ways. Our Guided missile destroyer the USS William P. Lawrence made the freedom of navigation transit to demonstrate to the world that waterways are free per international treaties. The Chinese are furious.
From The Washington Free Beacon and
Written By Michael Martina, Greg Torode and Ben Blanchard:
China Scrambles Fighters as U.S. Sails Warship Near Chinese-Claimed Reef
BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday as a U.S. navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea, a patrol China denounced as an illegal threat to peace which only went to show its defense installations in the area were necessary.
Guided missile destroyer the USS William P. Lawrence traveled within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef, U.S. Defense Department spokesman, Bill Urban said.
The so-called freedom of navigation operation was undertaken to “challenge excessive maritime claims” by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam which were seeking to restrict navigation rights in the South China Sea, Urban said.
“These excessive maritime claims are inconsistent with international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention in that they purport to restrict the navigation rights that the United States and all states are entitled to exercise,” Urban said in an emailed statement.
China and the United States have traded accusations of militarizing the South China Sea as China undertakes large-scale land reclamations and construction on disputed features while the United States has increased its patrols and exercises.
Facilities on Fiery Cross Reef include a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) runway which the United States worries China will use it to press its extensive territorial claims at the expense of weaker rivals.