U.S. commander says U.S. must exercise freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 09, 2015 1:49 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said on Friday the United States must carry out freedom of navigation patrols throughout the Asia Pacific, but declined to say whether it planned go within 12 nautical miles of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Admiral Harry Harris told a Washington seminar one of his responsibilities was to offer options to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and added, "I'm comfortable knowing those options are being considered."

Asked about reports that the United States planned to challenge 12-nautical mile limits around China's artificial islands, he replied: "I will not confirm that. I simply won't discuss future operations."

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom)