Published: Wed, May 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S., Japan, India, Philippines sail through South China Sea

U.S., Japan, India, Philippines sail through South China Sea

The maneuvers on Sunday of the destroyer sought, according to the U.S. fleet in the Pacific, to respond to "excessive maritime claims and preserve access to roads as mandated by worldwide law".

In Manila, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed her detention and said the foreign ministry had been ordered to provide Carpio-Morales with "assistance".

It was the second such USA military operation in the South China Sea in the last month, and marked the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

The US guided-missile destroyers Preble and Chung Hoon travelled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands on May 6.

"All operations are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", he said.

The disputed South China Sea is just one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship, which also include a trade tug-of-war.

The harvested giant shells, it said, are transported back to Hainan, China's southernmost province, "where they fetch thousands of dollars each in a thriving market for jewelry and statuary". The U.S. Navy will sail what are known FONOPS within that limit to challenge a country's excessive maritime territorial claims. The two countries have often traded charges in the past over the territory as Washington accuses Beijing of militarising the South China Sea by placing military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

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Spread over 3.5 million square kilometers, the sea is one of the world's busiest shipping routes and covers a vast reserve of gas and oil.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported Monday that Chinese clam harvesting fleets have returned to the South China Sea "in force", including at Scarborough Reef, after a sharp decline in activity from 2016 to 2018.

The U.S. said that events like this promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

China, which slams any movement of United States ships in the region, warned Washington again. "China firmly opposes such move".

The United States was trying to disturb regional peace and stability by using the issue of freedom of navigation and flight, he added.

In response to new U.S. tariffs announced by President Donald Trump amid trade talks, China has adopted a more tough stance in its trade war and slapped the United States with tit-for-tat measures, stating the resumption of talks between the two economies would be pointless unless Washington revised its course. The other claimants, most notably the Philippines and Vietnam, have protested China's behavior but they also maintain good relations with Beijing.

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