U.S. Navy Ships May Challenge Artificial Island Territory Claimed by China


A bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers have sent a letter to President Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter asking that the U.S. sail ships within 12-miles of artificial islands in the South China Sea claimed as legitimate territory by China.

According to a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international treaty supported by but not yet formally joined by the U.S., 12-miles off the coast of a given territory is considered to be sovereign waters owned by the respective country.

The area is question is a group of highly disputed islands south of China in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands.  The small islands in the area, some of which are claimed by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan, are rich in resources and of strategic geographical importance in the Pacific region.

Pentagon officials have widely criticized an ongoing Chinese effort to erect artificial structures nearby or on top of its claimed island territories in the Spratly Islands. Called “land reclamation” by the Pentagon, the activity has added more than 2,000 acres to island territories claimed by China.

Read more: http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1598509-us-ships-to-sail-by-disputed-chinese-islands