Sun, Nov 08, 2015 - Page 5 News List

US patrol sought to avoid provocation, not support China island claim: officials

Reuters, WASHINGTON

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis insisted to reporters on Wednesday that the patrol was not an “innocent passage.” Pressed further on the issue on Thursday, he declined to explicitly restate that position or elaborate.

A US official argued that China — which described the US patrol as “illegal” — was not seizing on the absence of military activities as a sign that Washington now accepted its sovereignty over the artificial islands.

“It didn’t change anything in the way it was received. What the Chinese took away was that we steamed through what they believe is their waters,” the official said.

Council on Foreign Relations fellow Adam Klein and Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security senior fellow Mira Rapp Hooper said in a joint paper that the lack of clarity over the operation was a problem.

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