Dispute in the South China Sea
Man-made islands in the South China Sea are visited by a U.S. Navy destroyer.
China sent a warning to the United States, after the USS Lassen breached an area claimed by China, in the South China Sea.
Last year, China started adding man-made structures on reefs near islands in the South China Sea. That’s the area between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. The U.S. says they could be off-shore Chinese military bases.
An American destroyer, the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles from one of the artificial islands. That could potentially be a violation of maritime law, although the U.S. government doesn't recognize the islands as Chinese territory.
The South China Sea is the subject of numerous territorial disputes. Several countries, including China, contest ownership over several island chains and the water that surrounds them.
Despite being reprimanded by China, the U.S. Navy plans to conduct patrols in the area once or twice, every couple of months.
Website Article, Map and Timeline: BBC News, Q&A: South China Sea dispute
Encyclopedia Article: World Book Student, China Sea
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