18 - 12 - 2017 | 2:14
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Naval commander stresses no change in U.S. policy on South China Sea

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A senior U.S. naval commander insisted Thursday that American policy on the South China Sea has not shifted, despite uncertainty about President Trump’s response to Chinese militarization of the disputed waters.

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“The policy is consistent between the two administrations,” said Adm. Scott Swift, who leads U.S. naval forces in the Pacific. “I don’t think anybody is expecting this huge reversal.”

Swift spoke aboard the guided-missile destroyer Sterett during its scheduled stop in Zhanjiang, a seaside steel town on China’s far southern tip. The ship docked amid People’s Liberation Army ships at a Chinese naval base. The port city is the naval headquarters responsible for operations in the South China Sea.

Swift stressed America’s “consistent presence” in the region, but also played down the focus on these freedom of navigation operations, or FONOPS.

“The amount of FONOPS we do is infinitesimal compared to our everyday exchanges,” he said. “I don’t see how those operations in the South China Sea should be viewed from a Navy perspective as any more consequential than anywhere else.”

Read more at Los Angeles Times

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