US destroyer sails near contested reef in South China Sea, angering Beijing

| January 20, 2018 | 23 Comments

uss hopper

Fox News reports USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed near a contested reef near the Philippines this week, resulting in a protest from Beijing, claiming it trespassed in Chinese territorial waters.

Wednesday’s Freedom of Navigation exercise occurred two days before Defense Secretary Mattis revealed a new strategy, naming China and Russia as the biggest threats to the U.S., and the U.S. military advantage over China is eroding.

A U.S. official confirmed the operation to Fox News saying it was merely “innocent passage” when the USS Hopper, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of the uninhabited reef, Scarborough Shoal.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said expressed dissatisfaction with the U.S. action and China would take “necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty,” the South China Morning Post reported.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said China dispatched a missile frigate to identify the U.S. vessel and warned it to leave the area.

We hope that the U.S. respects China’s sovereignty, respects the efforts by regional countries and do not make trouble out of nothing,” Wu said.

The United States conducts routine and regular FONOPs (Freedom of Navigation Operations), as we have done in the past and will continue to do so in the future,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman said Saturday. “We have a comprehensive FONOP program under which U.S. forces challenge excessive maritime claims across the globe to demonstrate our commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law. FONOPs are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements. FONOPS are designed to comply with international law and not threaten the lawful security interest of coastal States.

Twelve nautical miles from land is internationally recognized as the territorial limit for all nations. Since the U.S. doesn’t honor many of the claims by China in the South China Sea, Freedom of Navigation Operations are conducted by Navy warships.

The South China Sea has crucial shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil, gas and other mineral deposits. China claims most of it.

Category: Foreign Policy

Comments (23)

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  1. MustangCryppie says:

    Fuck ’em!

    We should have multinational naval exercises every fucking quarter in the SCS and forget to invite those bastards.

  2. Mason says:

    At least they didn’t crash into anything.

    Too soon?

  3. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Isn’t it wonderful?

    No matter how much we may see the problems of our Navy, other nations still shit bricks over one US “tin can”.

    (Grin)

  4. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    WTF is China doing, claiming half of the Pacific Ocean? They can go moo goo in their gai pan for all I care.

  5. 1610desig says:

    How many chinamen in a horde?

  6. Instinct says:

    Well fuuuuuuuck THEM!

    • desert says:

      Little ol’ Japan kicked their ever lovin’ ass in WWII….they need to watch letting their alligator mouth overload their hummingbird butt!

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        that one side fights winningly well does not mean the other side was incompetent.

        Note that they had upped their hame considerably by the fifties. And they have been planning for a rematch ever since.

        They outnumber us by no less than six to one.

        Do not underestimate them. It will be a hard fight, and their culture wrote a world-class book on warfare and strategy (The Art of War, by Sun Tzu)

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke!

  8. NHSparky says:

    Wave that strongly worded letter around all you want, China. If you want to send the PLN out to play, fine.

    Just don’t expect them back.

  9. Ex-PH2 says:

    Maybe they’re upset over a lack of tourist dollars since they claimed that reef? If it was popular with the amateur scuba crowd and now they won’t go there, well – no trip to reef, no dollah.

  10. AW1Ed says:

    From Wiki:

    USS Hopper (DDG-70) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy, named for the pioneering computer scientist Rear Admiral “Amazing” Grace Hopper.

    The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is the United States Navy’s first class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multifunction passive electronically scanned array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, an American destroyer officer in World War II, and later Chief of Naval Operations. The class leader, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned during Admiral Burke’s lifetime.

    When things start to get a bit sporty, having an Arleigh Burke DDG nearby is a big comfort.

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