US navy challenges China in the South China Sea


In its second provocative Freedom of Navigation operation in the South China Sea this year, the US Navy sent two guided missile destroyers yesterday-the USS Spruance and USS Preble-within the 12 nautical mile territorial limit claimed by China around Mischief Reef in the Spratly island group.

The naval operation coincided with the beginning of trade talks between the US and China this week ahead of a March 1 deadline by US President Trump for a deal to avert even more aggressive US trade war measures against China. The intervention of the two destroyers is designed to send a menacing message to Beijing that the US intends to step up its confrontation on all fronts unless China bows to its demands.

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