(VOVworld) – A US military official said on Monday that the warship USS Lassen had entered the 12 nautical miles of China’s illegally-built island in Vietnam’s Spratly archipelago. It has been the first move as part of the US’s routine patrol schedule in the East Sea.
|The US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen sails in the Pacific Ocean in a November 2009 photo provided by the U.S. Navy. Reuters/US Navy/CPO John Hageman/Handout via Reuters
The official speaking anonymously said that the US navy was organizing normal surveillance missions in the East Sea in line with international law. He said the activities were not related to island sovereignty.
Reuters said that the guided-missile destroyer, accompanied by US navy P-8A and P-3 surveillance planes, traveled within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam’s Spratly’s Mischief and Subi reefs. More surveillance missions will be conducted in the coming weeks.
The Obama administration has repeatedly said that the US will exercise freedom of navigation in any international seas defined by international law, including the East Sea.
China has strongly criticized the US’ naval maneuver which it described as “making trouble” in the East Sea. In a seminar on Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean relations in Beijing on October 26, China’s Foreign Minister Wangyi said functional agencies have investigated the case and urged the US to “think twice, and not act rashly and make trouble out of nothing” in the East Sea.