A U.S. Navy destroyer has sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, according to U.S. officials, even as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. Grace Lee reports.
A statement of intent from Washington on the South China Sea. Reuters exclusively reporting that the American naval destroyer USS Chafee sailed close to a group of Beijing's notorious man-made islands on Tuesday (October 10), pushing America's stance on freedom of navigation in increasingly militarized waters. Beijing claims virtually all of the South China Sea but despite looking to China for help over North korea. The US is determined to police the region and send a clear message that other nations have the right to pass. That said, this move by the navy isn't as aggressive as previous ones under the Trump administration, like in August, when a US destroyer sailed within a symbolic 12 nautical miles of an artificial Chinese island. This slightly less provocative move could be be down to the president's upcoming Asian visit, which will include an important stop-off in Beijing, where North Korea will be the key focus. The Pentagon has not directly commented on Tuesday's operation, but the U.S. insists it will continue with regular freedom-of-navigation exercises in the bitterly disputed region.