McCain: Navy should ignore China's claims in South China Sea
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is pressing the Pentagon to sail Navy ships within 12 miles of artificial islands China is building in the South China Sea and claiming as sovereign territory.
Republican Sen. John McCain says the U.S. needs to go within the 12-mile limit to underscore it does not recognize China's claims that the islands are its territory.
Assistant defense secretary David Shear says U.S. ships haven't done that since 2012, but it's one option being considered.
China has reclaimed about 3,000 acres in the South China Sea, triggering repeated objections from the U.S and allies.
Shear and Admiral Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, testified before the committee ahead of the Chinese president's Sept. 25th visit to the U.S.