The USS Fort Worth was sent to patrol the waters near disputed islands and reef that are being developed and fortified by in China in the South China Sea. During a routine U.S. patrol on May 12th the Chinese frigate Yancheng started to follow the USS Fort Worth.
7th Fleet Vice Adm. Robert Thomas said, “It’s routine for the U.S. 7th fleet ships to operate in the South China Sea and also routine for [Chinese] PLAN ships to operate at visual range of us.”
Tensions in the South China Sea have risen since China began its new land claims and the U.S. started observing. According to Stripes, these routine naval patrols are not going over well with Bejing officials, who consider them a “serious concern.”
China land reclamation projects in the South China Sea is roughly the size of the Navy’s Great Lakes recruiting command, about 30,000 to 35,000 people, according to Admiral Michelle Howard.
She continued to say, “I think it’s now time for China to talk about what the reclamation of land means…There’s a purpose to it and I think in terms of helping everybody who lives in this part of the world to understand the why would be helpful for China to help explain the why.”