US Navy sails near reefs claimed by China

A US Navy ship sailed near an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea in a long-anticipated challenge to what the Obama administration considers Beijing’s “excessive claim” of sovereignty in those waters, a U.S. defense official said Monday. The official said the White House approved the movement by the USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, inside what China claims as a 12-nautical mile (22-kilometer) territorial limit around Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago, a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China Sea. The patrol was completed without incident, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the Lassen’s movements.



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