US Will Sail Near China Islands 8 Times a Year
Defense official estimates 2 patrols every 3 months
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2015 9:00 AM CST
A file photo of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

(Newser) – The US angered Beijing last month when it sent a warship near China's man-made islands in the South China Sea. It was not a one-time thing: A defense official tells Reuters that similar patrols—those within 12 nautical miles, signaling that the US doesn't recognize China's sovereignty—will take place once every six or seven weeks. "That's the right amount to make it regular but not a constant poke in the eye," says the unnamed official. "It meets the intent to regularly exercise our rights under international law and remind the Chinese and others about our view."

The head of the US Pacific Command, meanwhile, told a Chinese audience in Beijing that the US will sail according to international law, adding that the "South China Sea is not—and will not—be an exception," reports the Financial Times. China has warned that the US action may prompt it to get even more aggressive in the waters.