US warship sails near manmade Chinese-controlled isle in South China Sea
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG-69), deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, conducts underway operations, at an undisclosed location in South China Sea.
A US Navy destroyer sailed near one of the most important man-made and Chinese controlled islands in the South China Sea. in a freedom of navigation mission that Beijing denounced as illegal.
While the United States frequently makes such voyages to challenge China and other states’ territorial claims in the strategic waterway, the latest one took place as Beijing staged more war games around Taiwan.
“Under customary international law, features like Mischief Reef that are submerged at high tide in their naturally formed state are not entitled to a territorial sea,” the 7th Fleet said in a statement.
“The land reclamation efforts, installations, and structures built on Mischief Reef do not change this characterization under international law.”
The 7th Fleet said at the end of the operation, the Milius exited the “excessive claim area” and continued operations in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile China and the US sparred over the movement of the same ship, which China said had entered its territorial waters in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands.
China claims vast swathes of the area through which trillions of dollars in trade flow every year.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim all or parts of the South China Sea.