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Need to avoid incidents at sea

2015-11-03 08:49:54       source: The Straits Times

By Hong Nong

"A United States defence official told CNN television network that the destroyer USS Lassen 'conducted a transit' within 12 nautical miles (nm) of Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands on Tuesday morning local time.

The US claims that its action is justified as exercising freedom of navigation in waters which it does not deem as China's territorial sea, as Subi Reef is regarded by the US as a low-tide elevation, and hence not entitled to its own territorial waters. The decision to sail the USS Lassen close to the disputed isle is no doubt due to the domestic pressures the US faced, after China started to reclaim land in the features under its control in the Spratlys."

The writer heads the Institute for China-America Studies, an independent, non-profit academic institution launched by the Hainan Nanhai Research Foundation. She is also a research fellow with National Institute for South China Sea Studies and China Institute, University of Alberta.

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