US Navy warships just challenged China with a South China Sea sail-by operation, and Beijing is furious

February 11, 2019

The US Navy sent two guided-missile destroyers to challenge China in the South China Sea, and Beijing is outraged.

Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers — the USS Spruance and the USS Preble — conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation on Monday, sailing within 12 nautical miles of Chinese outposts in the contested Spratly Islands.

The purpose was to “challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways,” as well as to show that the US “will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” Cmdr. Clay Doss, a US Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN.

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