US sends warship close to Chinese islands

The United States has sent a warship very close to one of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, a move apparently designed to increase tensions with Beijing. 

The US Navy sent its USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, within 12 nautical miles of the island on Tuesday, said a US military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The operation has begun… It will be complete within a few hours,” the official added.

The White House had approved the movement by the USS Lassen, which sailed around Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago, a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China, the official noted.

“We will fly, sail and operate anywhere in the world that international law allows,” another US military official told CNN.

“US Freedom of Navigation operations are global in scope and executed against a wide range of excessive maritime claims, irrespective of the coastal state advancing the excessive claim,” the official added.