US steps up challenges to Chinese-claimed islands in South China Sea
In a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell exploded within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in the southern part of the 1.3 million-square-mile waterway, almost all of which China claims on its sovereign territory.
“The Freedom of Navigation Operation (” FONOP “) upheld the rights, freedoms, and legitimate uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging unlawful restrictions on the innocent route imposed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan,” Lt. Joey Lilly, K. A spokesman for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement.
Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines also lay claim to the Spratly series, where China has transformed obscure reefs and sandbars into man-made artificial islands, fortified with missiles, runways and weapon systems.
Kelly said, “Unlawful and widespread maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the sea, including freedom of navigation and overflight, free trade and inadvertent commerce, and the economic opportunity of South China’s economic zones , “Kelly said. In the statement.
Following US Navy operations, US President Joe Biden described China as “the” most serious competitor “and outlined plans to counter Beijing’s” attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance “.
Biden also said that Washington was in “extreme competition” with China.
The report noted that the warship had trespassed into Chinese territory, “seriously violating China’s sovereignty and security, weakening regional peace and stability and deliberately promoting a good atmosphere of peace, friendship and cooperation in the South China Sea” Interrupted. “