A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a “freedom of navigation” operation on Friday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters.
The operation, which infuriated Beijing, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as China’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Mustin traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands and carried out maneuvering operations. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.
The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the area, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.