A US warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an island claimed by Beijing in the South China Seas, in an operation intended to underscore America's right to access the disputed waters, the Pentagon said.
"We conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea earlier tonight," Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said in statement issued late Friday US time.
He said the operation was carried out near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands, "to challenge excessive maritime claims of parties that claim the Paracel Islands."
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