U.S. Navy Asserts Freedom of Navigation in South China Sea

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(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Navy has asserted that the recent passage of its guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer in waters near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea is consistent with its stance on international law that allows freedom of navigation, according to a statement Saturday.

“China, Taiwan, and Vietnam each claim sovereignty over the Paracel Islands,“ the U.S. Navy said. “The unilateral imposition of any authorization or notification requirement for innocent passage is not permitted by international law, so the United States challenged these requirements.”

The comments were in response to an earlier statement issued by the People’s Liberation Army Daily stating that the U.S. vessel had entered Chinese waters surrounding the islands and had ignored China’s objection to the move.

The latest development comes as Vietnam is pushing back harder against China’s efforts to isolate it diplomatically on a territorial dispute in an energy-rich part of the South China Sea.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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