A US Navy destroyer has sailed close to artificial islands built by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea in defiance of China.

Destroyer USS Lassen breached the 12-nautical mile zone China claims around its artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago.

USS Lassen is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. The Arleigh Burke class are built around the Aegis Combat System.

The freedom of navigation operation represents a serious challenge to China’s territorial claims. Freedom of navigation is a principle of international law that ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states. This right is also codified in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, not all UN member states have ratified the convention; notably, the United States has signed, but not ratified the convention.

China has responded to the US for ignoring repeated warnings and allowing one of its destroyers to sail close to the artificial islands.

A statement posted on China’s Foreign Ministry website says:

“These actions of the US warship are a threat to the sovereignty and security of China, and safety of people living on the islands; they damage peace and stability in the region. In this regard, the Chinese side expresses extreme dissatisfaction and strongly protests.”

Under international law, a state’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its shore. However, the US and others argue that this rule cannot apply to artificial islands.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, also claim parts of the sea. Taiwan is a sixth claimant.

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Howie Elliott

good for them…China cannot grab land as it wants and try to control shipping in the area…screw China……

Malcolm Andrews

“US warship you are in Chinese territorial waters”

“We are in international waters and will continue on our current course”

Is this not the plot to Tomorrow Never Dies?

We’re only a rogue bespectacled media mogul short of World War!

Malcolm Andrews

If she is sunk mysteriously I’m on the phone to Rupert Murdoch straight away.

David L Thomas

Say about provacating your creditors of your huge debt you owe US. ($16 trillion and rising)

Ian Petrie

Wasn’t it Carnegie who said: “if I owe the bank a hundred dollars then that’s my problem, but if I owe the bank a hundred million dollars then that is the bank’s problem.”

Ian Petrie

The USA did that to Gaddafi in the 1980s!

Steve Harry

Good on the USA

david southern

What should happen here is a long convoy of warships from Canada, UK, US, Australia and many others sailing through these waters on a regular basis. Don’t just leave it up to the Americans!

Damian Ross

I don’t get how it’s a threat to just sail past. Didn’t do anything literally just went by…