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U.S. warship sails near islands Beijing claims in South China

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A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Tuesday, three U.S. officials told Reuters, prompting anger in Beijing.

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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 January.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, carried out normal maneuvering 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 neighbors.

China’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that a warship, two fighter jets and a helicopter had scrambled to warn the U.S. ship away, adding it had infringed upon China’s sovereignty and security with its “provocation”.

Unlike in August, when a U.S. Navy destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, officials said the destroyer on Tuesday sailed close to but not within that range of the islands.

Read more at Reuters

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0 #1 U.S. warship sails near islands Beijing claims in South ChinaCinda 2017-10-21 17:29
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