In the ongoing saga between the United States and China, the USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer based in Japan, made a Freedom of Navigation transit in the South China Sea. China has been building artificial islands and fortifying disputed islands as it extends it hegemony over the area. By sailing within the nationally recognized 12-mile limits the United States Navy displays the nations unacceptance of China’s false claims. The South China Sea is one of the busiest shipping areas in the world and carries a major portion of sea-borne shipping. China cannot be allowed to have control of this vital ocean avenue.
As Written By Lucas Tomlinson for Fox News:
For the second time since President Trump took office, the Pentagon dispatched a U.S. Navy warship to sail near a disputed island claimed by China in the South China Sea, two U.S. defense officials told Fox News.
The USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer based in Japan, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, which is part of the Paracel Islands located in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam.
The destroyer was trailed by a Chinese warship during its Sunday voyage.
While occupied by China, Vietnam and Taiwan also lay claim to the island. A defense official said the operation challenged Vietnam and Taiwan’s claims to Triton Island in addition to China.
Twelve nautical miles is the territorial boundary that extends beyond the shores of all nations, sailing inside that distance sends a signal the United States does not recognize the claim.
The move comes as the Trump administration appears to be losing patience with Beijing over its continued military build-up in the South China Sea. The U.S. has been frustrated with Beijing’s failure to reign in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs……….
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