South China Sea tensions – What’s the US strategy?


The US defied Beijing by sending a warship close to one of China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea, and announcing future patrols. DW examines Washington’s position in the dispute and the risks involved.

“There have been naval operations in that region in recent days and there will be more in the weeks and months to come…We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits.”

These are the words of US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, speaking during a congressional hearing in Washington on October 27 after a US ship sailed inside the 12-nautical-mile limit of an artificial island built by China in the disputed South China Sea (SCS).

Although the move had long been awaited, Washington’s direct challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims in the area angered the Chinese who condemned the move as “illegal” and a threat to their country’s sovereignty.

China’s foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to protest, and said the nation would do “whatever is necessary to oppose deliberate provocation from any country.”

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