Chỉ huy tàu Fort Worth - Cmdr. Rich Jarrett
Hải quân Hoa Kỳ cho biết Đệ Thất Hạm đội thường xuyên thực hiện các hoạt động hàng hải để bảo vệ các lợi ích quốc gia của Hoa Kỳ tại khu vực Ấn Độ dương và Á Châu-Thái Bình Dương.
 
Trước đó, Tổng thống Mỹ Barack Obama bày tỏ quan ngại là Trung Quốc đang dùng sức mạnh và quân số đông đảo của mình để hiếp đáp các nước nhỏ hơn trong vùng biển tranh chấp. Nhà lãnh đạo Mỹ nói Hoa Kỳ tin là có thể giải quyết tranh chấp bằng đường lối ngoại giao, nhưng không chấp nhận việc Trung Quốc “hiếp đáp Philippines hay Việt Nam, chỉ vì các nước này nhỏ hơn Trung Quốc”.
 
Hãng tin CNN hôm 14/7 dẫn lời các giới chức Mỹ cho biết là Hoa Kỳ đang cân nhắc việc triển khai thêm máy bay và tàu để thách thức những đòi hỏi chủ quyền của Trung Quốc tại các hòn đảo trên Biển Đông.
Trong cùng ngày, Trung Quốc cảnh báo Hoa Kỳ chớ có hành động nào có thể được xem là khiêu khích, theo Xinhua, cơ quan thông tấn của nhà nước Trung Quốc.
Bản tin dẫn lời người phát ngôn của Bộ Ngoại giao Trung Quốc Hoa Xuân Oánh nói rằng trong khi Bắc Kinh ủng hộ tự do hàng hải ở Biển Đông, ‘Hoa Kỳ phải thận trọng và sử dụng quyền này một cách đúng đắn’.

Bà Hoa Xuân Oánh nói “Tự do hàng hải không cho phép tàu chiến và máy bay chiến đấu của một nước tự do tiếp cận các vùng biển thuộc lãnh hải và không phận của một nước khác.”

Theo AP, CNN.
US Sends USS Lassen Destroyer to Pass Islands in South China Sea within 24 hours, Challenging China
Published on 26 Oct 2015
US Sends USS Lassen Destroyer to Challenge China, Warship to South China Sea within 24 Hours. BREAKING: U.S. destroyer to pass islands in South China Sea within 24 hours in serious challenge to China territorial claims. 
Washington (CNN)—The U.S. Navy plans to send a destroyer within 12 miles of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea within the next 24 hours, a U.S. defense official confirmed to CNN. 
The official said the mission now has the approval of President Barack Obama. 
News of the ship's plan was first reported by Reuters.

The ship could make the pass as soon as Monday night, barring any unforeseen circumstances, a U.S. military source told CNN. There will be air cover as well as reconnaissance in the air, flying in international airspace, the source said. 

The aircraft will watch the ship and be there, if needed, to record and deal with any problems. The Chinese have not been informed, the source said, adding that no trouble is expected.

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival -- often messy -- territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.

In June, China had said that island building in the South China Sea was "almost complete," although it did say that it would continue to build facilities on the islands it has already created. 

China has repeatedly said its activity in the South China Sea does not target any other country or affect freedom of navigation by sea or air.

Chinese navy ships entered U.S. territorial waters off Alaska earlier this month, coming within 12 miles of the coastline during President Barack Obama's visit to the state, U.S. officials told CNN.

The officials emphasized that China's actions were consistent with "innocent passage" under international maritime law. 

However, in the South China Sea, the United States has yet to breach the 12-mile limit accorded under maritime law -- even though the U.S. doesn't recognize the islands as Chinese territory, and their man-made nature may disqualify them from having any maritime zone.

Patrol marks most serious US challenge yet to territorial limit China claims around the islands in South China Sea, and follows months of deliberation.

The US navy plans to send the USS Lassen destroyer within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea within 24 hours, the first of more regular challenges to China’s territorial claims, according to a US defense official. The destroyer’s patrol would occur near Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago, features that were formerly submerged at high tide before China began a massive dredging project to turn them into islands in 2014. The ship would probably be accompanied by a US navy P-8A surveillance plane, and possibly P-3 surveillance plane, which have been conducting regular surveillance missions in the region, the official said on Monday. The patrol will mark the most serious US challenge yet to the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit China claims around the islands, and follows months of deliberation. Additional patrols could follow in coming weeks, the official said. Similar US patrols were also conducted around features that Vietnam and the Philippines have built up in the Spratlys in the past, according to the US Defense Department. The move risks significantly upsetting already strained ties with China, the world’s second-biggest economy, with which US business and economic interests are deeply intertwined. The patrol will come just weeks ahead of a series of Asia-Pacific summits the US president, Barack Obama, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are expected to attend in the second half of November. China claims most of the South China Sea and on the 9th of October its foreign ministry warned that Beijing would “never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight”. The United States argues that under international law, building up artificial islands on previously submerged reefs does not entitle a country to claim a territorial limit and that it is vital to maintain freedom of navigation in a sea through which more than $5tn of world trade passes every year.