US, China Discuss South China Sea Ops

US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and his Chinese counterpart, People’s Liberation Army (Navy) Commander Adm. Wu Shengli took part in a video teleconference to discuss ongoing engagements between the two navies and recent operations in the South China Sea.

The talks held on Oct. 29 were in light of the US Navy’s USS Lassen sailing within 12 nautical miles of China’s man-made island in the Spratly Islands territory, most of which is claimed by China.

The sail-by took place Oct. 27 and provoked government outrage in China. As Reuters reports, Admiral Wu Shengli confirmed China’s stern stance that a minor incident could spark war if the US repeated similar actions in the future.

U.S. Navy’s statement on the latest call reports Richardson and Wu discussing U.S. freedom of navigation operations; the relationship between the two navies, including pending port visits and senior leader engagement; and the importance of maintaining an ongoing dialogue.

Admiral John Richardson stated that U.S. freedom of navigation operations serve to protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law. He further added that these operations were not a challenge to the sovereignty of land features and that United States takes no position on competing sovereignty claims to land features in the South China Sea.

Image: US Navy

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