WASHINGTON: The US Navy said its guided-missile destroyer the USS Milius sailed through waters claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea in a “freedom of navigation” operation on Monday.
“This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea,” the Navy said in a statement, adding that the ship had passed near the Spratly Islands.
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About 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) away, Chinese fighter jets and warships are carrying out three days of military drills around Taiwan, including simulated strikes on the island.
The war games follow a meeting last week between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy outside Los Angeles.
The exercises sparked condemnation from Taipei and calls for restraint from Washington, which said it was “monitoring Beijing’s actions closely”.
On Monday, Beijing said fighter jets carrying “live ammunition” had conducted “simulated strikes” near Taiwan and that its Shandong aircraft carrier was involved in the ongoing exercises
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