US Will Continue Activity in S. China Sea

US Will Continue Activity in S. China Sea US Will Continue Activity in S. China Sea

US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said on Monday that there would be more demonstrations of the United States’ commitment to the freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea.

Rhodes’ comments come after a US guided-missile destroyer sailed close to one of Beijing’s manmade islands in the South China Sea last week.

The USS Lassen’s patrol was the most significant US challenge yet to the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits China claims around artificial islands it has built in the Spratly archipelago, Reuters reported.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade passes every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

Rhodes added that the goal in the dispute was to come to a diplomatic framework to resolve these issues.

In another act, US and Japan are pushing to get concerns about the South China Sea included in a statement to be issued after regional defense talks between Southeast Asian defense ministers and their counterparts from across the Asia-Pacific in Malaysia despite Chinese objections to any mention of the disputed waterway, officials said.

A senior US defense official said Beijing had made clear as early as February that it did not want the South China Sea discussed at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Last week’s gathering brings together the 10 defense ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations along with ministers from the United States, Japan, China, India and Australia.

A draft of the concluding statement of ASEAN ministers meeting being prepared by host Malaysia makes no mention of the South China Sea, said a separate source familiar with the discussions, focusing instead on terrorism and regional security cooperation.