US challenges China’s claims in South China Sea a

A US Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since US President Donald Trump took office, according to Al Jazeera.

The US patrol, the first of its kind since October, marked the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday the USS Dewey traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands – among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbours.

The so-called “freedom of navigation operation”, which is sure to anger China, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing’s cooperation to rein in ally North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.