torsdag 20. mai 2021

US destroyer backs up Biden's tough words in South China Sea

A United States Navy warship sailed near disputed Beijing-controlled islands in the South China Sea on Thursday -- just hours after US President Joe Biden said the US must protect open access to the waterway. The guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur performed what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation" operation near the Paracel Islands, asserting "navigational rights and freedoms... consistent with international law," Lt. j.g. Nicholas Lingo, spokesperson for the US 7th Fleet, said in a statement. China calls the Paracels, in the northwestern portion of the South China Sea, the Xisha Islands.They have been under Beijing's control for more than four decades -- despite competing claims from Vietnam and Taiwan -- and China has fortified them with military installations.

Beijing, which claims almost all of the South China Sea as its territory, said the movement of the US warship violated its sovereignty.