The head of United States naval operations said on Wednesday that its “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea are given more attention than they deserve.
The US Navy said two of its warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday last week, a move that angered Beijing as the nations battle over trade tariffs.
“The operations get more attention in the media and also, sometimes from China, than they warrant, to be honest,” John Richardson said at the sixth International Maritime Security Conference in Changi, Singapore.
China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which trillions of dollars worth of ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the territory.