The US has shrugged off China’s criticism over its warship patrol in the South China Sea saying that the operation had been conducted within the limits of international law and had not required any special permission.
“The US has conducted naval operations in the South China Sea in recent days and will conduct similar operations in the future,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.
“Our freedom of navigation operations do not assert any specific US rights,” White House Eric Schultz said when asked about the details of a US Navy destroyer sailing past China’s artificial islands, adding that the United States will fly and sail anywhere international law allows. He did not comment further.
China has criticized the US patrol operation, which led one of its destroyers past artificial island features created by China in the South China Sea, saying it was “an abuse of freedom of navigation.” Beijing has promised to do everything necessary to “protect [the] country’s security and interests”.
The US actions have been dubbed as “completely irresponsible” by China’s Foreign Ministry, which responded to American actions by summoning the US ambassador to China, Max Baucus.