Will Keep Operating in the South China Sea: US Military
China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea.
US military forces will continue to operate in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, the US Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson said on Wednesday during a visit to a Chinese naval base.
China has refused to recognise a ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague that invalidated its vast territorial claims in the South China Sea and did not take part in the proceedings brought by the Philippines.
China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually.
The United States has conducted freedom of navigation patrols close to Chinese-held islands, to Beijing’s anger, while China has been bolstering its military presence there.
US forces will keep sailing, flying and operating wherever international law allows, Richardson added.
The US Navy will continue to conduct routine and lawful operations around the world, including in the South China Sea, in order to protect the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of sea and airspace guaranteed to all. This will not change.John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, US
State news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday that countries outside the region should stay out of the South China Sea issue lest they cause unwanted problems.
“Western countries have a long history of failing to establish orderly rule over parts of the world. The Middle East is a classic example,” it said.
Richardson said he was supportive of the deepening of relations between the US and Chinese navies.
The United States has complained that Chinese aircraft and ships have performed “unsafe” manoeuvres while shadowing US ships and planes, particularly in the South China Sea.
Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, US Vice President Joe Biden assured key ally Australia there would be no retreat from Washington’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, regardless of who wins November’s presidential election.
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