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U.S. conducts first freedom of navigation operation in South China Sea in seven months

Several broadcasters took up a Reuters story alleging that on Wednesday the USS Dewey transited waters near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, noting that the transit by the guided missile destroyer appeared to be part of Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) that have not been carried out since October. This was the first operation of its kind under the Trump administration, which may have held off on conducting FONOPs to avoid irritating Beijing in the hope of enlisting its cooperation for restraining North Korea’s provocative behavior. China is bound to react sharply to the latest U.S. military move. The Pentagon reportedly released a statement saying that it continues to conduct regular freedom of navigation operations.

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