US to challenge China’s sovereignty claim: Sending warship close to fake islands

The Navy of United States of America is reportedly preparing to send a warship within 12 nautical miles of China’s fake islands in West Philippine Sea. The American warship will be tasked to pass-by very close to China’s fake islands at the approval of US President Barack Obama, military and defense officials said quoted by Navy Times and Washington Post.

“If approved, it would be the first time since 2012 that the U.S. Navy has directly challenged China’s claims to the islands’ territorial limits,” the Navy Times said in its report.

The Post said either a destroyer, a cruiser, or a littoral combat ship will be tapped to carry out the task. “Whether that is a destroyer loaded out with missiles or an LCS with less weapons, the point wouldn’t be about which weapons the Navy is sending,” a US defense official said speaking to The Post on condition of anonymity. “The objective to this would be to demonstrate that this is international water.”

At the Royal Australian Navy Seapower Conference in Sydney, Australia October 6, US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift talked about UNCLOS and freedom of navigation and overflight. He said “it cannot be parsed, minced, or revised by any one nation’s domestic laws. It cannot be halted by coercion or encroachment. It endures regardless of competing maritime claims, no matter how longstanding or disputed, regardless of their being conceived by nature, or manufactured by man.”

He added that “some nations in this region continue to impose superfluous warnings and restrictions on freedom of the seas in their exclusive economic zones and claim territorial water rights that are inconsistent with UNCLOS.”