Date: May 13, 2015
By: Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom
The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. military aircraft and ships to assert
freedom of navigation around rapidly growing Chinese-made artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options that include sending aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of reefs that China has been building up in the Spratly island chain, the official said.
Such a move would directly challenge Chinese efforts to expand its influence in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
“We are considering how to demonstrate freedom of navigation in an area that is critical to world trade,” the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that any options would need White House approval. [FULL STORY]