Navy Again Sends Warship to Disputed S. China Sea

Washington Free Beacon | 5/21/2019 | Bill Gertz
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BY: Bill Gertz

For the second time this month, a Navy warship conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea designed to push back against expansive Chinese maritime claims to the waterway.

Destroyer - USS - Preble - Miles - Scarborough

The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed Scarborough Reef on Monday, said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman, spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

China denounced the latest action and said its military forces were dispatched to identify the ship and warn the destroyer to leave the area.

Gorman - Preble - Passage - Maritime - Claims

Gorman said the Preble's passage was designed "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law."

"U.S. Forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea," Gorman said in a statement. "All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows. That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe."

Spokesman - Freedom - Navigation - Operations - Country

The spokesman said such freedom of navigation operations "are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements."

However, the latest ship passage appears to be part of stepped-up military operations designed to counter China's expansive and illegal claims to own disputed islands throughout the sea.

Permanent - Court - Arbitration - July - China

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in July 2016 that China's claim to own some 90 percent of the South China Sea under a so-called Nine-Dash Line was illegal. The court ruled in favor of Philippines in stating there is no evidence China historically exercised exclusive control over the sea or its resources.

"The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line,'" the court said.

Scarborough - Reef - China - Philippines

Scarborough Reef is claimed by China, Philippines,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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