Pentagon Sends Navy Ship To Coast Of THIS Country

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethen transits waters east of the Korean Peninsula during an exercise in March. | U.S. NAVY


The Pentagon has sent a U.S. Navy warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea occupied by China, U.S. officials reported.

The patrol, the second known “freedom of navigation” operation under Trump, involved the USS Stethem guided-missile destroyer, based in Japan and was conducted earlier Sunday within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, which is part of the USS Stethem located in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam.


The destroyer was reportedly trailed by a Chinese warship during its Sunday patrol.

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While occupied by China, Vietnam and Taiwan also lay claim to the island. A defense official said the operation challenged Vietnam and Taiwan’s claims to Triton Island in addition to China, Fox News reports.


Twelve nautical miles is the territorial boundary that extends beyond the shores of all nations, sailing inside that distance sends a signal the United States does not recognize the claim.

The move comes as the Trump administration appears to be losing patience with Beijing over its continued military build-up in the South China Sea. The U.S. has been frustrated with Beijing’s failure to reign in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.


This frustration was seen in a tweet sent by Trump late last month.

“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” he wrote at the time.

And on Friday, in moves that the White House said were not aimed at Beijing, the Trump administration unveiled new sanctions against a Chinese bank linked to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, a day after announcing a new $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

However, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet, told The Japan Times in a statement that “FONOPs are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements.”

“U.S. forces operate in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea,” Knight said. “All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.

Last week, the U.S. State Department called out China for being one of the worst human trafficking offenders–dropping Beijing to its lowest designation joining Iran, North Korea and Russia. The report said China had done little to stop what has amounted to modern slavery and sex trafficking affecting millions.

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