U.S. Navy Sails Guided Missile Destroyer Near Reefs Claimed by China | TheBlaze.com

In this handout from the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (L) and USS Chung-Hoon (R) are underway in the Sea of Japan July 27, 2010 in the East Sea. (Photo by John J. Mike/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Navy ship sailed near an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea in a long-anticipated challenge to what the Obama administration considers Beijing’s “excessive claim” of sovereignty in those waters, a U.S. defense official said Monday.

The official said the White House approved the movement by the USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, inside what China claims as a 12-mile territorial limit around Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago, a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China.
In this handout from the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (L) and USS Chung-Hoon (R) are underway in the Sea of Japan July 27, 2010 in the East Sea. (Photo by John J. Mike/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

In this handout from the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (L) and USS Chung-Hoon (R) are underway in the Sea of Japan July 27, 2010 in the East Sea. (Photo by John J. Mike/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The patrol was completed without incident, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the Lassen’s movements.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, declined to comment.

The Obama administration has long said it will exercise a right to freedom of navigation in any international waters, including in the South China Sea. The point of sailing a U.S. ship within 12 nautical miles of any of the artificial islands created by China would be to demonstrate the U.S. assertion that they are not sovereign Chinese territory.

“Make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Oct. 13.

via U.S. Navy Sails Guided Missile Destroyer Near Reefs Claimed by China | TheBlaze.com.

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