An American warship on Sunday Sunday sailed within 12 miles of the disputed Scarborough Shoal territory claimed by the Chinese military – in an attempt to "challenge" Beijing's "major maritime demands" in the South China Sea, officials said.  The move carried out by the controlled missile destroyer USS Preble comes amid elevated tensions between China and the United States following its failed trade talks.
"Preble sailed within 12 miles of Scarborough Reef to challenge excessive maritime demands and maintain access to waterways governed by international law," Cmdr explained. Clayton Doss, a spokesman for the Navy's Seventh Fleet, in a statement.
He said the maneuver was part of a Freedom Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea ̵
Two American destroyers, Preble and USS Chung-Hoon, traveled within 12 miles of the Gift and Johnson Reefs in Spratly Islands on May 6.
The Trump administration has repeatedly challenged China's militarization of the region.
"All operations are designed in accordance with international law and show that the United States will fly, sail, and operate where international law permits," Doss said. "It is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the world."
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