US Navy Conducts Mission in Contested South China Sea

Voice of America News reports: “A U.S. warship sailed near a chain of islands Monday claimed by China, the Philippines, as well as other nations and Taiwan, while China held its third day of military exercises around self-governed Taiwan.

The U.S. Navy said the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius conducted a freedom of navigation operation near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, a group of dozens of islands between Vietnam and the Philippines, to uphold the ‘lawful uses of the sea.’

USS Milius demonstrated that Mischief Reef, a low-tide elevation in it its natural state, is not entitled to a territorial sea under international law,’ the Navy said.

The Navy routinely sails near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea to protest what it calls China’s ‘excessive maritime claims.’

China has created thousands of hectares of artificial islands atop reefs in the Spratlys and claimed Monday that the United States was ‘illegally trespassing.’

Beijing has claimed every feature in the South China Sea to restrict navigation and stop the lawful commercial activity of vessels from the Philippines and Vietnam. China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam all claim the Spratlys as part of their territory…”

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