SINGAPORE (REUTERS) – The head of operations of the United States Navy said on Wednesday (May 15) that its freedom of navigation movements in the disputed South China Sea get more attention than they deserve. The US military said two of its warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday last week, a move that angered Beijing at a time of tense ties between the world’s two biggest economies. “(The operations) get more attention in the media and also have, sometimes from China, than they warrant, to be honest,” Mr John Richardson told reporters on the sidelines of a maritime defence conference in Singapore. China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which trillions of dollars worth of ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims. In an earlier speech, Mr Richardson said that US naval operations had been consistent over decades and had not risen recently. “I’ve done the analysis and I can state with confidence that our level of operations has been consistent over the decades,” he said, adding that there had been “no spikes recently”. Beijing denounced what the US said was an “innocent passage”… Read full this story
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