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US sails warships past disputed islands in the South China Sea



A US official told CNN that the guided missile destroyer USS Higgins and the cruiser USS Antietam sailed with 12 miles from four of the Paracel Islands, which the US Navy calls a "navigational freedom", meaning enforcement of the law for free access in international waters.

The US Navy operation took place on Sunday, according to Reuters, who first reported
One of these islands, Woody Island, was used last week for military exercises using bombers capable of nuclear weapons [19659004] China's foreign and defense ministries accused Washington of interfering with Beijing's territory by sailing past the islands. In a statement by Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, the US was asked to "immediately stop such provocative actions that threaten China's sovereignty and threaten China's security."

China has in recent years reinforced many of the islands in the South China Sea military facilities and advanced others through land reclamation.

Beijing says that a large part of the South China Sea is its territory, claims the majority of the international community as spurious.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the South China Sea.

An international court ruled in 201

6 that most of Beijing's claims in the South China Sea are illegal, but this decision did not materially affect the status quo on the ground.

Washington is taking freedom in navigation to enforce the right of free passage in contested waters.


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