WASHINGTON – The United States says China has the right to sail in international waters after a Chinese aircraft carrier cruised past Taiwan and in the contested South china Sea.
The taiwanese Ministry of Defense reported Monday that the aircraft carrier and five warships sailed 90 nautical miles south of Taiwan, a self-governing island claimed by China. Beijing says that it is a routine exercise.
China has previously accused U.S. warships of making provocative goes through the South china Sea.
The State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday the U.S. recognizes the legitimate uses of the sea, and the same rights apply to the US, China and other countries.
He said: “as we are often the case with our own naval vessels sail … in the same waters, it is the freedom of navigation.”
Earlier this month, a Chinese navy ship seized a U.S. Navy underwater glider, which the US said was the conduct of oceanic research in the international waters off the coast of the Philippines.
The USA is called the seizure illegal and a diplomatic protest. China returned the glider five days later.
Beijing claims most of the South china Sea. Five other Asian governments also claim ownership of the islands and reefs there.