The United States has informed the Southeast Asian countries that it will soon send its warships to the disputed areas in the South China Sea.
Kyodo Tsushin agency, quoting diplomatic sources, released information on October 18 stating that the United States plans on sending its warships to the 12-mile zone around the artificial islands, in the Spratly archipelago.
Top officials in the US administration earlier announced plans for the US Navy to patrol the South China Sea. However, informing other concerned countries via diplomatic channels is a demonstration of the reaction of President Obama’s statement to China’s sovereignty, Kyodo Tsushin agency noted.
Prior to that, the United States told the countries interested in these disputed territories, its plans to ensure ‘freedom of navigation’ and talked about an imminent start of the implementation of these plans, but did not specify the exact date.
From 2012, the US has not patrolled the 12-mile zone around the reefs in the Spratly islands and the Obama administration has avoided sending warships in the South China Sea, fearing the reaction of Beijing.
Washington’s current decision will increase tensions in the region. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Beijing “resolutely protests against the actions of any country which, under the guise of protecting the freedom of navigation and air traffic, encroaches on the sovereignty and security of other countries.”
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