Washington Post reports, “U.S. destroyer sails near disputed island in South China Sea”
An American guided-missile destroyer sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea on Sunday, a U.S. defense official said, marking the second such operation since President Trump took office.
The Japan-based USS Stethem, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, sailed within 12 miles of Triton Island, a small landmass in the Paracel Islands chain.
Fox News first reported on the incident, known as a freedom-of-navigation operation, or FONOP.
The 12-mile line is the internationally recognized distance that separates the shores of a sovereign nation from international waters. The United States has routinely conducted voyages within this 12-mile limit around islands in the South China Sea as a message to countries such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Many of these nations have laid claim to islands in the South China Sea, some of which are no more than tiny strips of sand and reef. The last time the U.S. Navy sailed near Triton Island was in January 2016, when the USS Curtis Wilbur came within 12 miles of its shores. The Pentagon did not notify any of the island’s claimants before that operation.