FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Navy warships, on two occasions in the past few days, sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday, at a time of tension between the world’s two largest economies.
The busy waterway is one of a number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Commander Reann Mommsen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, told Reuters that the operations were carried out on Wednesday and Thursday and involved the Paracel Islands and Mischief Reef.
Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Sandra Maler