Obama only pretended to do this. And then apologized.
President Trump has repeatedly made a point of using warships to show the People’s Republic of China that we don’t recognize their annexations.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said one of its warships sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, angering Beijing at a time of tense ties between the world’s two biggest economies.
The U.S. destroyer Preble carried out the operation, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters.
“Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the ship had entered waters near the shoal without China’s permission, and the Chinese navy had warned it to leave.
“I must stress once again that the U.S. warship’s relevant actions have violated China’s sovereignty and undermined the peace, security and good order in the relevant sea areas. China is firmly opposed to this,” Lu told a daily news briefing.
Scarborough Reef is part of the Philippines.
“The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble conducted a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, May 20. USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Cmdr. Clayton Doss, a spokesman for the Navy’s Seventh Fleet.
Scarborough Reef, aka Scarborough Shoal, is an uninhabited reef in the South China Sea about 120 miles west of the Philippinessurrounded by rich fishing grounds claimed by both China and the Philippines. China seized control of the reef from the Philippines in 2012 as part of an effort to claim control of South China Sea areas near the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands.
Monday’s passage by the USS Preble is only the Navy’s second Freedom of Navigation Operation off Scarborough Shoal — the first one was in January 2018.
President Trump is keeping the pressure on.