The US Navy sails close to a Chinese language militarized island within the South China Sea

(CNN) – The US Navy has despatched a destroyer close to a disputed island within the South China Sea that Beijing has fortified with navy services to assert its territorial rights within the space.

Mobility occurred when The Chinese language military entered the third day of a present of drive round Taiwan.1,600 kilometers close to the northern entrance to the South China Sea, in response to a brief go to by the Taiwanese president to america.

In an announcement, the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet mentioned the guided missile destroyer USS Milius handed inside 12 nautical miles, the internationally acknowledged restrict of the nation’s territorial waters, of Mischief Reef within the Spratly Islands, in any other case referred to as the Nansha Islands in China.

Mischief Reef is within the unique financial zone of the Philippines, and can also be claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. However Beijing asserted its claims to the island by constructing it and placing navy infrastructure on it.

The US maintains that such actions violate the Regulation of the Sea Conference.

“Locations akin to Mischief Reef which might be submerged at excessive tide of their pure state don’t have any proper to a territorial sea. Land reclamation efforts, services and services constructed within the space of ​​Mischief Reef don’t alter this designation beneath worldwide regulation,” the US Seventh Fleet mentioned within the assertion.

China claims many of the huge South China Sea as a part of its territorial waters, together with many islands and outlying bays within the disputed physique of water, lots of which Beijing has militarized, akin to Mischief Reef.

The guided missile destroyer USS Milius conducts a freedom of navigation operation within the South China Sea on Friday. (Credit score: MC1 Greg Johnson/US Navy)

A spokesman for the Folks’s Liberation Military’s Southern Theater Command mentioned the US destroyer “illegally infiltrated” into Chinese language waters close to Meishef Reef, which Beijing calls Meiji Reef.

“China has indeniable sovereignty over the islands within the South China Sea and their adjoining waters,” Colonel Tian Junli, the Air Drive’s chief officer, mentioned in an announcement.

The Seventh Fleet assertion mentioned that the so-called freedom of navigation operation on the US destroyer defended the rights of ships of any nation to function within the area.

US warships usually conduct the sort of FONOP within the South China Sea and it was on Monday The second in three weeks from Miliuswhich sailed on March 23 close to the Paracel Islands, referred to as the Xisha Islands in China, within the northern a part of the South China Sea.

“The US will fly, sail and function wherever worldwide regulation permits, regardless of the situation of extreme maritime claims and it doesn’t matter what present occasions,” the Seventh Fleet mentioned in an announcement on Monday.

After FONOP in March, Beijing alleged that america had violated its sovereignty whereas “undermining peace and stability within the South China Sea,” mentioned Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Protection.

Monday’s US FONOP program got here as Chinese language forces entered their third day of large-scale navy workout routines across the island of Taiwan, an autonomous democracy north of the South China Sea, which China’s ruling Communist Occasion nonetheless claims as its territory. He by no means dominated.

Beijing started operations throughout Taiwan on Saturday, a day after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a 10-day go to to Central America and america, the place she met with the Speaker of the Home, Kevin McCarthy.

Beijing has repeatedly warned of Tsai’s assembly with McCarthy, beforehand threatening to take “agency and decisive measures” if it occurred.

CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to this report.