US Sees More Frequent Patrols in South China Sea
A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer was followed at a safe distance by a Chinese ship as the U.S. ship sailed inside the 12-nautical-mile limit of artificial islands built by China in the disputed South China Sea, but no incidents were reported during the passage, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday.
The official said the 72-mile route, which took the USS Lassen from the north to the southwest, also passed within 12 miles of reefs claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.
Such operations, known as "innocent passage," were likely become more frequent in the future, the official said. "I would expect that this becomes a regular operation in the South China Sea," the official said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal)