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

news

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

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers — USS Spruance and USS Preble — conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation 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 U.S. Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN.

Beijing sharply criticized the operation. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the U.S. entered Chinese waters without permission and engaged in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty, Reuters reported.

China's claims to the South China Sea were largely discredited by an international arbitration tribunal three years ago. Beijing rejected the ruling and the authority of the tribunal.

The Chinese military has since bolstered China's military presence in the region through the deployment of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, jamming technology, and other defense systems to Chinese-occupied territories in the region.

Monday's sail-by is the second U.S. freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea this year. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell sailed challenged China's claims to the Paracel Islands.

China accused the US of trespassing, and Chinese media announced that it had deployed "far-reaching anti-ship ballistic missiles" (the DF-26) "capable of targeting medium and large ships."

The U.S. has also sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, drawing Beijing's ire.

During a South China Sea freedom-of-navigation operation in September, a Chinese destroyer challenged a U.S. vessel to a showdown, forcing the U.S. Navy ship off course and risking a potentially deadly collision.

The Chinese foreign ministry said that the People's Liberation Army Navy sent vessels to track the U.S. warships sailing near the Spratlys and warn them to leave the area.

The US Navy, however, has stressed that it's not going anywhere. "We've got big interests there, so we're going to remain there," Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, said recently.

Rea more from Business Insider:

SEE ALSO: China Swallowed Islands In The South China Sea. Now It Wants To Eat Djibouti Like Groceries

WATCH NEXT: FONOPs Are Not Fun Ops

U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers and guided-missile cruisers. (U.S. Navy/Lt.j.g. Caleb Swigart)
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Keion Jackson).

The U.S. military will build 'facilities' to house at least 7,500 adult migrants, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to construct the facilities, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Chris Mitchell.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)

Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.

So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."

Read More Show Less

The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.

Read More Show Less

When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.

J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.

"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.

"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.

"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.

"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."

Read More Show Less