US Navy challenges restrictions imposed in Spratly Islands: spokesperson

In this handout released by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) is underway in the Atlantic Ocean on March 4, 2010. (Wikipedia)

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The U.S. Navy sailed another ship through the South China Seas on Wednesday in a bid to further highlight the “freedom of navigation operation.”

“This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan,” a navy spokesperson told Newsweek.

Earlier that day, the USS Bunker Hill sailed through the Spratly Islands, a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, one day after the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) claim that it expelled the USS Barry from the Paracel islands.

Beijing reportedly tightened its grip on the disputed area by slicing control of the Paracel and Spratly island groups, which was originally managed by Sansha, in China’s Hainan province.

Washington disputes much of Beijing’s claim to the disputed South China Sea. The two nations have traded jabs in recent weeks over their respective handling of the global coronavirus pandemic, with each attempting to shift blame onto the other.

U.S. Secretary of State ramped up the accusations during an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday morning. “The Chinese Communist Party now has a responsibility to tell the world how this pandemic got out of China and all across the world, causing such global economic devastation,” Pompeo said. “America needs to hold them accountable.”