South China Sea: U.S. Sovereignty Challenge Provokes Anger In Beijing – Huffington Post

A Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the Lassen’s movements, said the patrol was completed without incident. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, declined to comment.

Speaking to foreign correspondents in Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he supported the U.S. naval maneuvers as an assertion of freedom of navigation and as a means to balance power in the region.

“I think expressing support for established norms of international behavior should not be a negative for a country,” he said. “I think everybody would welcome a balance of power anywhere in the world.”

Without identifying China by name, he said “one regional power” has been making “controversial pronouncements” that must not be left unchallenged.

The Obama administration has long said it will exercise a right to freedom of navigation in any international waters.

“Make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said earlier this month.

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