He said the U.S. will continue “freedom of navigation” operations that include sailing U.S. Navy ships through the South China Sea, and raised the prospect of other countries joining in on “presence activities.”
I think you’ll see perhaps more countries joining in presence activities — which if not a 12-nautical mile challenge presence in the South China Sea — is important because China claims the whole thing through the 9-dash line,” Schriver told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday.
Freedom of navigation operations involve U.S. Navy ships sailing through the South China Sea within 12-nautical miles of territory claimed by China, to illustrate that the waters remain open to international passage.
The Obama administration had stopped conducting freedom of navigation operations through the South China Sea from 2012 to 2015, out of concern over angering Beijing.
While the Trump administration has continued freedom of navigation operations through the South China Sea, China has not stopped placing more military equipment on them.