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

news
U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers and guided-missile cruisers. (U.S. Navy/Lt.j.g. Caleb Swigart)

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

Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.

Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.

Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.

Read More Show Less

Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

Read More Show Less

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.

"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Read More Show Less