By Nick Baum
MONDAY – 2/11/19
Two United States Navy warships, the USS Spruance and the USS Preble, sailed close to a disputed artificial island created by China. The decision to sail within 12 nautical miles of the island was part of an ongoing initiative by the Navy called “the freedom of navigation.” Later, a spokesperson for the same fleet of ships said the US Navy is trying “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law.”
The island in particular is part of a larger set of artificial islands called the Spratly Islands. Most of them were created in 2014, and are slowly expanding today. The controversy surrounding them though is the placement of them, as all of them are either in international waters or within the Philippines coast, both of which are illegal. Furthermore, the islands were placed in the middle of major shipping and export lanes across the sea, almost a third of the world’s trade takes place in that area, making navigation a lot more difficult in the region.
Sources and Pictures: CNN, Google, Wikipedia, Flickr