WASHINGTON – A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday, within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island, Mischief Reef (Filipino name: Panganiban Reef) built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters.
Mischief Reef is a reef / atoll surrounding a large lagoon east of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. It is located 250 kilometers west of Palawan.
The operation came as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, in a challenge to China’s territorial claims.