A US Navy officer has warned that China’s military presence in the South China Sea would not stop American forces from patrolling the strategic, disputed waters.
“International law allows us to operate here, allows us to fly here, allows us to train here, allows us to sail here, and that’s what we’re doing and we’re going to continue to do that,” Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins said Saturday on board the USS Carl Vinson, which anchored at Manila Bay while on a visit to the Philippines.
The warship’s anchor commander made the remarks to The Associated Press when asked whether China’s newly built islands could restrain US patrols in the disputed waters.
Hawkins said the US patrols in the region, which have been carried out for seven decades, are aimed at promoting security and ensuring the unimpeded flow of trade.
When President Donald Trump came to power, Southeast Asian officials were uncertain how the US would respond to the overlapping…