Pentagon weighs sending planes, ships near disputed South China Sea reefs

Reuters
Date: May 13, 2015
By: Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom

The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. military aircraft and ships to assert

An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015.  Reuters/Ritchie B. Tongo

An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015. Reuters/Ritchie B. Tongo

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]

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