US ambassador says operations will continue in disputed sea

US ambassador says joint actions will continue to take place in South China Sea to ensure freedom of navigation

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, right, arrives for a forum Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines.

The US ambassador said that the United States will continue its joint patrol with the Phillipines in the South China Sea after the country strongly criticised the presence of Chinese aircraft on one of the contested islands in the sea.

Ambassador Philip Goldberg said on Wednesday that the US and the Philippines are using their right freedom of navigation in the sea, adding that the US would not abstain from the joint action.

Two US warships have sailed near the China-claimed artificial islands since October.

On Sunday Beijing condemned the sailing of a US warship within 12 nautical miles of a contested South China Sea island.

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said that the US action is "very unprofessional and irresponsible for the safety of the troops of both sides, and may cause extremely dangerous consequences."

Following China's criticism, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that the USS Wilbur Curtis made an "innocent passage" off Triton Island.

"We conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea," he added.

TRTWorld and agencies