12:54 GMT +323 October 2017
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    Sailors aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) prepare to leave port while the People’s Liberation Army Navy Jiangkai II class guided-missile frigate Xuzhou (FFG 530) gets underway

    US Guided-Missile Destroyer Stethem Operating in South China Sea - Navy

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    US Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer Stethem is conducting operations in the South China Sea, where it completed a refueling from the New Zealand ship Endeavor, the US Navy said in a press release on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In addition to South China Sea activities, the Stethem has operated alongside the Carl Vinson Strike Group and Korean Navy vessels in the waters off the Korean Peninsula, the release noted.

    "Conducting these types of operations with our allies builds proficiency and sustains our ability to maintain a persistent presence throughout the 7th Fleet area of operations," Command Senior Chief William Palmer IV stated.

    Once deployed, the Stethem completed a refueling-at-sea operation with the New Zealand ship Endeavour.

    Tactical actions officer Robert Kline stated in the release that the operation has provided vital experience that increases the Navy’s proficiency in mission critical areas.

    On April 8, the US aircraft carrier strike group Carl Vinson was dispatched to the Korean Peninsula amid tensions in the region.

    North Korea has carried out several nuclear and ballistic missile test launches this year in violation of UN resolutions. Last year, Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests and conducted more than two dozen test launches using ballistic missile technology.

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    Guided-Missile Destroyer Stethem, South China Sea, United States
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