US Says China’s South China Sea Claims ‘Ridiculous’

US warship sent to disputed area around Paracel Islands

The guided-missile destroyer the USS Mustin has entered the South China Sea and is sailing near the Paracel Islands. The islands are claimed by China, though the US does not recognize that claim. China objected that they didn’t authorize the US to sail there.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien called China’s claims in the South China Sea ‘ridiculous,’ saying they’ve been rejected by all the major countries. Most countries in the region have conflicting claims in the South China Sea, and to the extent they overlap with Chinese claims, the US backs everyone else’s claims.

In rejecting their claims, the US has repeatedly carried out “freedom of navigation” exercises near Chinese claims just to prove that they can’t enforce those claims. China is objecting to those incursions, and earlier this week fired anti-ship missiles into contested waters to prove they could challenge those ships if they have to.

The Pentagon warns the missile fire is a threat to peace. Chinese officials responded that the US was interfering in Chinese internal affairs and is simply upholding its rights.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.