(From Reuters)

The United States is open to the possibility of joint naval patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea, a U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur patrols in the Philippine Sea

U.S. Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles of an island claimed by China in the South China Sea on Saturday to counter efforts to limit freedom of navigation, the Pentagon said, prompting an angry reaction from Beijing.

Manila has asked the U.S. to patrol the area together after China began test flights from Fiery Cross Reef, one of three artificial islands where Beijing has built airfields.

“We do discuss that principle (joint patrols) with the Philippines and so I am not discarding that possibility,” U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said.

“But we are not going to make announcements about that beforehand because it is our view that we have every right under international law to exercise freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and we will continue to do so,” Goldberg said. Read More

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