Located in the South China Sea are a small group of islands known as the Spratly Islands.
To most of the world, the Spratly Islands are in international water.
However, China claims ownership of the Spratly Islands, a claim disputed by the United States and some nearby nations.
The USS Decatur, a guided missile destroyer just sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands, causing China to take issue with the US.
Since the US does not recognize China as being the legal owners of the Spratly Islands, they say that China cannot stop them from sailing near the islands, but China says that the US intentionally violated their territorial waters.
(Sunday Express) – THE UNITED States have taken tensions with China to a new high by “asserting their right” to sail warships past disputed islands in the South China Sea.
A guided-missile destroyer, USS Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles (13.8 miles on land) of reefs near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, two US officials claim.
China has asserted ownership of the Spratly islands, something which was hotly contested by the US officials as “excessive maritime claims”.
Speaking to CNN, one of the officials said: “US Forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis, including the South China Sea. All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.
The official said these operations “challenge excessive maritime claims and demonstrate our commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law.” …
Over the past decade or two, China has been trying to expand their control of the South China Sea by claiming some island groups and even creating some new islands.
The claims, if legitimate, would greatly extend Chinese territorial water into much of the South China Sea, a move that has alarmed other countries in the region.
Several years ago, a British warship sailed near the disputed islands and China issued them a stern warning.
Coupled with the recent tariffs and the accusation by President Trump of China trying to meddle in this year’s midterm elections, the tensions between China and US have been escalating to what many believe to be a dangerous level.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.