US destroyers sail in disputed South China Sea - GulfToday

US destroyers sail in disputed South China Sea

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US destroyers sail in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions. File photo/ Reuters

The US military said two of its warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday, a move that could anger Beijing at a time of tense relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

The South China Sea is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship, which also include a trade war, US sanctions and Taiwan.

The US guided-missile destroyers Preble and Chung Hoon traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands, a US military spokesman told Reuters.

Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet, said that the “innocent passage” was “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law.”

Reuters