Aug 11, 2017 @ eight:37

By:  Agence France-Presse

A US warship on Thursday sailed close to an artificial island China has constructed up in the South China Sea, as a part of a “freedom of navigation” operation, a US official stated.

The USS John S. McCain destroyer sailed inside six nautical miles of Mischief Reef, a part of the disputed Spratly Islands south of the Paracel Islands.

Speaking on situation of anonymity, the official advised AFP a Chinese frigate despatched radio warnings at the least 10 occasions to the usMcCain.

“They called and said ‘please turn around, you are in our waters,’” the official stated.

“We told them we are a US (ship) conducting routine operations in international waters.”

The official stated the interactions had been all “safe and professional,” with the operation lasting about six hours from begin to end.

China claims practically the entire South China Sea, regardless of partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several other southeast Asian nations together with the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The freedom of navigation operation — identified in the army as a “FONOP” — is probably going to provoke Beijing and was the third of its form carried out by the United States since President Donald Trump took workplace.

It comes amid hovering tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang’s missile program, and because the United States seeks to push China into extra assertively restraining North Korea.

Trump this week warned North Korea it confronted “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten America.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan declined to touch upon whether or not there had been a freedom of navigation crusing, however stated: “We are continuing regular FONOPs, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future.”

“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” he stated.(AFP)