07:51 GMT +3 hours28 July 2016
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Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still file image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy

McCain Blasts Obama Administration for Lack of Action in South China Sea

© REUTERS/ U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters
Asia & Pacific
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Senator John McCain on Monday criticized the White House for delaying any future “freedom of navigation” patrols near artificial islands that China has built in the disputed South China Sea.

McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said China was continuing to "pursue its territorial ambitions" in the region, including by landing a plane on a man-made island in the Spratly Islands on January 2.

In a statement to Reuters, the Senator from Arizona said the US military's failure to conduct additional patrols last year was "disappointing yet hardly surprising."

He said the President Barack Obama's administration was "either unable to manage the complexities of interagency national security decision making or simply too risk averse to do what is necessary to safeguard the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific."

In October, the Pentagon began conducting patrols within 12 nautical miles of the man-made islands.

McCain's complaints come after Chinese foreign ministry officials confirmed on Saturday that a test flight by a civilian plane landed on one of the islands, the first time Beijing has used a runway in the area, Reuters reported.

The landing was not a surprise, as China has been building runways on the artificial islands for over a year.

Washington suspects that the islands may be used as military outposts, while Beijing insists that they will serve primarily a humanitarian purpose.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in trade passes annually. However, there are overlapping claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

After the Chinese plane’s landing, Vietnam launched a formal diplomatic protest, while the Philippines said it is planning to do the same.

"That's the fear, that China will be able take control of the South China Sea and it will affect the freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight," said Philippines Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose.

Tags:
Barack Obama, John McCain, Spratly archipelago, United States, China, South China Sea
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  • marcanhalt
    Leave it to a Washington politician to voice an opinion without taking a breath or resort to some kind of scare tactic while reaching for a scabbard that just isn't there. How in the world did a John McCain make it this far without a scandal? Oops! Sorry to those already in the know.
  • jas
    Senator McCain is an embarrassment. A man in his position is supposed to be objective, not act as a ;lobbyist for defense contractors.

    His VP choice was Sarah Palin, so much for his judgment. And that was 2008.
  • man,... Insane McCane is really out of control. If it is up to him, we would have been in nuclear war long time ago. That guy is truly mentally sick.
  • Ayelyah
    someone remind insane McCain it 's called the South CHINA Sea for a reason...
  • michael
    After the Chinese plane’s landing, Vietnam launched a formal diplomatic protest, while the Philippines said it is planning to do the same.

    why would an aircraft of the Phillipines Air Force land on a Chinese runway on Chinese territory? :))
  • cuttingedge.blacksmith
    Appears that the Geriatric Drugs are not working.
  • Dirk Ramsey
    I keep wondering why the voters of Arizona keep electing this senile old idiot.
  • Ann
    That warmongering SOB is going to get us into a war yet - why won't he just die?
  • arrow
    McCain sick, insane? He, along with all the other Zionist neocons is a psychopathic sociopath completely lawless and devoid of empathy. If anyone has a clearer description please post it. Always searching for clarity.
  • cast235
    Mc Cain is having flash backs. He see himself in a Viet Nam pit, all covered and smelly. yes the therapies are not working.
    Let's not forget that this same dirt bag, was in the Syrian conflict , and began hiring opposition , while many alleged he was with an Al Nustra affiliate in the videos. THAT's how IS began. HE opened a hiring office to recruit opposition. Guess who was getting paid.
    Taiwan? Taiwan was part of China when it founded U.N. Check that China maps of the era. It was a failed U.S, E.U, France, U.K, Germany attempted coup.
  • arrowin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
    jas, He's "supposed to be objective" according to your perception but actually he's doing what they pay him to do. Push their empirical agenda. Divide and conquer (using your money). The Hegelian dialectic. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. What sucks is he's been doing it successfully and gets re-elected because the majority of the people in his District will never get it. They were well indoctrinated. The truly sad part is he would continue to do the same things he's doing now even if he lost the next election. IMHO he is a key supporter of the military industrial complex. Hell he may even be under the influence of psychotropics. That's how the CIA/FBI works.
  • Andrew Jackson
    Looks like McCain will make another trip and stir up more s**t :D
  • If McCain were to be in Obama's shoes doing Obama's job McCain would do exactly the same thing as Obama is doing now. I dare him touch one of these islands :)
  • Ivan Zadorozhny
    Why should McCain care? With all due respect, he is old enough to start realising the transitory nature of this world.
  • Matthewbleu2
    McCain is mad. The Spratly Islands in the South China Sea were returned to China by a defeated Japan in a treaty signed in 1952, under the Potsdam Declaration. The US had no objection then. Why now?
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