The US Navy is set to restart the Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea thereby challenging Chinese claims to the region.
The US Navy will restart so-called Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea to challenge claims by China to exclusive access in the sea, a top American commander says.
US Pacific Fleet Commander Scott Swift insisted at a briefing in Singapore on Monday that there is “no change in policy” toward the region under the administration of President Donald Trump.
He said the US Navy stopped its “freedom of navigation” patrols temporarily in the South China Sea because the United States “just went through a change in administration,” but added that it did not mean the sea is a lower priority for the Trump administration.
“I am not surprised that process has continued in a dialogue as the new administration gets its feet on the ground and determines where would be appropriate to take advantage of these opportunities and where we may want to wait,” he said.
“We just present the opportunities when we have a ship in the area and there is an area of interest,” he said, adding the US Navy continues to recommend such operations.