A United States Navy warship sent a clear message of American determination this week by conducting drills close to the coastline of artificial islands China has constructed in the South China Sea, drawing a strong warning from the Chinese government.
According to Newsmax, China’s “stern representation” came on Wednesday, when Chinese leaders accused the USS Dewey of challenging the country by sailing within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island in the South China Sea.
Although the United Nations technically defines territorial waters as within 12 nautical miles of a country’s coastline, Chinese officials stated they will view any country as a threat if foreign ship dare to even come close to that margin. Of course, the country is opposed to freedom of navigation in international waters.
While the Dewey did sail close to the islands, China’s claim to the territory is not recognized internationally.
According to Reuters, the territory is near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all cite claims to that territory, and so it does not belong to any one country, a fact which the U.S. continues to emphasize.
As The New York Times reported, the Dewey’s action “was the first freedom of navigation operation since President Trump took office.”
A U.S. military official told Reuters that the decision to send the Dewey near Mischief Reef was strategically planned in order to demonstrate that China cannot claim the area as its own territory.
“USS Dewey engaged in normal operations by conducting a maneuvering drill inside 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef,” the official said.
“The ship’s actions demonstrated that Mischief Reef is not entitled to its own territorial sea regardless of whether an artificial island has been built on top of it,” the official continued.
This is just the latest challenge to another country mounted by President Donald Trump to re-establish the United States in world affairs. It just goes to show that the Trump administration refuses to back down to other nations who continue to test American resolve.
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