Pan-Asia: US warships sail near Paracel Islands in South China Sea

  • A US Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on 10 Oct 17, three US. officials told Reuters, even as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
  • The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. But it was not as provocative as previous ones carried out since Trump took office in Jan 17.
  • The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, carried out normal manoeuvring operations that challenged “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbours.
  • In Nov 17, Trump makes his first visit to Asia as president, including a stop in China, which he has been pressuring to do more to rein in North Korea. China is North Korea’s neighbour and biggest trading partner.
  • Unlike in Aug 17, when a US Navy destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, officials said the destroyer sailed close to but not within that range of the islands.
  • Twelve nautical miles mark internationally recognised territorial limits. Sailing within that range is meant to show the United States does not recognise territorial claims.

External Link : http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/us-warship-sails-near-disputed-island-in-south-china-sea-say-us-officials?login=true

10-Oct-2017


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