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  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) returns to its homeport, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 27, after more than six months on a deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

    The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) returns to its homeport, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 27, after more than six months on a deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. | Photo: U.S. Navy

Published 20 May 2019

“Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.

A U.S. warship reportedly entered the disputed region of the South China Sea this morning as Washington attempts to challenge Beijing's authority there. 

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The busy waterway is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and Taiwan.

China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday. The tough talk capped a week that saw Beijing unveil fresh retaliatory tariffs.

The U.S. destroyer Preble carried out the operation, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters.

“Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.

It was the second such U.S. military operation in the South China Sea in the last month. On Wednesday, the chief of the U.S. Navy said its freedom of navigation movements in the disputed South China Sea drew more attention than they deserved.

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.

With the recent turmoil between China and U.S. over free trade and tariffs, the situation in the Far East is bound to intensify over the next few months. 

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