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U.S. Navy chief: sailing in South China Sea is not provocative
October 15, 2015 / 6:03 AM / 2 years ago

U.S. Navy chief: sailing in South China Sea is not provocative

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States’ operating in international waters in the South China Sea should not come as a surprise and would not be a provocative act, the U.S. Navy’s most senior uniformed officer said on Thursday.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/Files ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson, who was promoted to his post last month, made the remarks at a press roundtable in Tokyo at the start of a trip around Asia.

China claims most of the South China Sea and has warned that it would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on Tuesday the U.S. military would sail or fly wherever international law allowed.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim

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