09:16 GMT +323 October 2016
    US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen

    South China Sea Showdown: US to Push China Over Territorial Claims

    © REUTERS/ US Navy
    Asia & Pacific
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    The United States will continue to challenge China's territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, the head of US Pacific Command said on Wednesday.

    Admiral Harry Harris said the US Navy will continue to conduct so-called freedom of navigation operations, as it did in October when a US destroyer sailed near an artificial island that Beijing built in the South China Sea.

    "As we continue down the path of freedom of navigation operations, you will see more of them and you will see them increasing in complexity and scope," Harris said. "In general, we will continue to do freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea as we do everywhere else in the world."

    In October, the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-claimed territory with no prior notification, which angered Beijing. The warship passed without conducting military activity, which is permitted by international law under the principle of "innocent passage."

    Some experts suggest that because the ship did not conduct military exercises, the passage did not challenge China's claims. Harris, speaking during a forum at the Center for Security and International Studies in Washington, argued that the operation still made a stand for international law.

    "I believe that the Lassen operation did challenge some aspects of China's claims," he said. "For example, the requirement to give prior notice before you do innocent passage."

    China claims over 90% of the South China Sea, but there are competing claims by Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan. 

    The United States does not take a position on the territorial dispute, but strongly opposes China's construction of artificial islands in the region. Washington suspects the islands will be used as military outposts, while Beijing asserts they will serve primarily humanitarian purposes.

    freedom of navigation, US Navy, Harry Harris, South China Sea, China, United States
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    • And one day you will found yourself in China's waters and you will have fun!
    • cast235
      And one day, waking up after cleaning dentures, they look out and find a column of Russian ships, Subs, and the coffee will be spilled.
      HOW they THERE? No one saw them come. No one hear them. No warning...
      Russia will claim that that;s water refraction. relax it happens sometimes.
    • in reply tocast235(Show commentHide comment)
      cast235, Like the last time when a chinese submarine just emerged to say hi to a aircraft carrier and they were stunned because it was not on their rardars.. :)
    • elsa.zardini
      This is as stupid as it can get. Go figure. Challenging the Chinese? The Russians? The Arabs? Go figure.
    • hopscotch64
      China needs to get on the pot or off the pot. If the United States continues it's provocations in the South China Sea then China needs to make an example in the only language the United States understands and that is force.
    • peaceactivist2
      Easy to resolve this issue enough! Since China was allowed to get onto US ships, and in vise versa, just invite the American ship to dock at the island and it will take care the problem.
    • chrrev
      Just sink a couple of their ships, the idiotic yanks will understand. That's actually the only thing those morons understand.
    • Mystic-One
      Not very good co-operation or diplomacy. The USA just sent arms to Taiwan and Demands that China do as it says. Fail to do what we say then we will force you to.

      When will these Oligarch One World New Order Types learn that might does NOT make RIGHT!
    • cmat.wolfgangin reply toMystic-One(Show commentHide comment)
      yes, I think so too. It is just bullying. But has no other result than making enemies. Where is Diplomacy???
    • michaelin reply tohopscotch64(Show commentHide comment)
      hopscotch64, make that overwhelming force. :)
    • michaelin reply toMystic-One(Show commentHide comment)
      Mystic-One, unfortunately for the rest of the world, neither does Right make Might. :)
    • michaelin reply tocmat.wolfgang(Show commentHide comment)
      cmat.wolfgang, diplomacy is off having a quiet nervous breakdown in an old disused ICBM silo somewhere in ohio. It suffered greatly when it found out that kerry was its representative. :)
    • Ingimundar
      The Chinese side wants to protect their shipping lanes and resources. Come hell or high water, they're going to do it. They need the outposts for navaids , coast guard functions and drill rig supply. Roll over, never!
    • cmat.wolfgangin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      IMO, China just wants to make sure that no other small country will charge them an arm and a leg for trespassing. China needs those free waterways for import-export. I had a few People telling me that other countries would be nearer to those Islands, e.g. Philippines, than China. But since when has local closeness anything to do with the Nation it belongs too, Alaska would then belong either to Canada or Russia. It is history, who can prove was there first and claimed it. China has documents and that pushes most other competitors out. First the Philippines, which are a country for only a few years now and can naturally have NO historical claims.
    • michaelin reply tocmat.wolfgang(Show commentHide comment)
      cmat.wolfgang, agreed. It has been stated before that the Chinese look towards a distant future. :)
    • The US is angry that it did not start making artificial Islands first and now all the best spots already have Chinese Islands on them.
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