Washington (CNN) The United States Navy as soon as again challenged Chinese claims in the South China Sea Thursday, sailing the Arleigh Burke-class directed rocket destroyer USS Mustin near the Paracel Islands.

The US Navy has actually twice cruised warships in a comparable effort to challenge Chinese claims to the Paracel and Spratly islands in the last month and performing another such operation near the Paracels in March.
The increased operational pace comes in the middle of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing on a range of concerns including the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to exert higher control over Hong Kong and duty for the coronavirus
” On May 28 (local time), USS Mustin (DDG 89) asserted navigational rights and liberties in the Paracel Islands, consistent with global law,” Lt. Anthony Junco, a representative for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, said in a declaration.
” By conducting this operation, the United States demonstrated that these waters are beyond what China can lawfully claim as its territorial sea,” the declaration included.
The Mustin passed within 12 nautical miles of Woody Island and Pyramid Rock in the islands, an US Navy authorities stated. China keeps an airfield on Woody Island and has actually landed strategic bomber aircraft there in the past.
The Pentagon just recently exposed that a Chinese vessel on April 14 performed “hazardous and unprofessional maneuvers” near the Mustin “which was conducting typical operations in worldwide waters” at the time of the incident, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn.
The Paracel Islands are declared by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, and the United States has long said Beijing has militarized the islands in the South China Sea by means of the release of military hardware and building of military centers.
The United States military has recently implicated China of looking for to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to gain military and financial benefits in the area.

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