THE US will be increasing its navy patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Pentagon has confirmed – a decision that is likely to outrage Beijing.
Pentagon officials have confirmed that US Pacific Command will be executing “freedom-of-navigation operations” approximately two or three times each month in a bid to Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea.
China has previously accused the US of trying to militarise the region as escalation continue to mount over Beijing’s ally North Korea.
Since Donald Trump has taken office, a total of three navigations patrols have occurred, while in contrast, only four were conducted during the entire Obama administration.
Earlier this year satellite images revealed that China had deployed its newest Y-8X maritime patrol aircraft to the fringes of the South China Sea.
China declares it would ‘STOP US attack on North Korea’
And in August the American Navy sent the USS John S McCain within 12 nautical miles of the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, sparking outrage from China.
The nation’s Foreign Ministry accused the US Navy of breaking “international laws” following similar incidents in May and July.
A spokesman for the ministry said: “The US destroyer’s actions have violated Chinese and international laws, as well as severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security.
“China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the US side.”