China strongly condemns US for sending warship near island in South China Sea - Times of India
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.
Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said no ships from China's military were in the vicinity of the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur when it passed near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands.
The U.S. Navy conducted a similar exercise in October in which the guided-missile destroyer Lassen sailed close to one of China's man-made islands, also drawing a rebuke from Beijing.
BEIJING: China strongly condemned the United States after a US warship deliberately sailed near one of the Beijing-controlled islands in the hotly contested South China Sea to exercise freedom of navigation and challenge China's vast sea claims.U.S. warship sails close to Chinese artificial island - CNNPolitics.com
The missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) of Triton Island in the Paracel chain "to challenge excessive maritime claims of parties that claim the Paracel Islands," without notifying the three claimants beforehand, Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright said Saturday in Washington.
China, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the Paracels and require prior notice from ships transiting what they consider their territorial waters. The latest operation was particularly aimed at China, which has raised tensions with the U.S. and its Southeast Asian neighbors by embarking on massive construction of man-made islands and airstrips in contested waters.
The United States sent a warship very close to one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a potential challenge to Beijing's territorial claims in the contested waters.A U.S. defense official told CNN that the destroyer USS Lassen "conducted a transit" within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands on Tuesday morning local time.The operation put the ship within an area that would be considered Chinese sovereign territory if the U.S. recognized the man-made islands as being Chinese territory, the official added.