News ID: 280823
Published: 0430 GMT February 17, 2021

US destroyer sails in South China Sea by China-claimed islands

US destroyer sails in South China Sea by China-claimed islands
The USS Russell operates in the South China Sea on February 17, 2021.

A US Navy warship sailed by islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Wednesday in a freedom of navigation operation, marking the latest move by the administration of US President Joe Biden to challenge Beijing’s territorial claims in the contested waters.

The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said destroyer USS Russell “asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law”, Reuters reported.

It was the second such act of provocation under Biden. Earlier this month, two American carrier groups conducted a joint exercise near the Chinese-claimed Paracel Islands, according to Press TV.

China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all have overlapping claims to disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Washington has been taking sides with the claimants opposed to Beijing in the disputes.

China has repeatedly protested US military presence in and around the areas under its control. Beijing accuses Washington of seeking to create tensions in the region and interfering in its internal affairs.

Last week, President Xi Jinping told Biden in their first phone conversation that a potential confrontation between China and the US would be a “disaster”.

President Xi insisted that cooperation between Beijing and Washington was the “only choice”.





Resource: Reuters
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