A US Navy destroyer (USS John S. McCain, named after the father and grandfather of Sen. John McCain), a guided-missile destroyer, carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters.
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 Navy dispatched a P-8 reconnaissance plane to monitor Thursday’s operation, Fox News reported. China has scrambled military forces for past challenges, but did not this time.
According to Western Journalism, Thursday’s exercise was the third “freedom of navigation” challenge since President Donald Trump took office.
In May, The USS Dewey, another guided-missile destroyer, also sailed by Mischief Reef.
At the time, China lodged a vehement protest.
“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,” Sr. Col. Ren Guoqiang said in statement.
The Pentagon, however, promised to continue the challenges, and it has lived up to its word.
“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Jamie Davis said 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,” he said.