BEIJING (AP) — Beijing is expressing serious concern about a reported U.S. plan to challenge China's South China Sea territorial claims by sailing a Navy ship near one of its newly built artificial islands.
The U.S. newspaper Navy Times reported that the Navy may soon receive approval for the mission to sail inside the 12-nautical mile (21-kilometer) territorial limit surrounding one of the man-made structures to illustrate Washington's stance that they do not constitute sovereign territory.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that China has a clear position on the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost all of, along with its islands, reefs and atolls.
Five other governments also claim the region in part or in total. The U.S. doesn't take a formal position on those claims.