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China slams US warship sail-by near artificial islands

The USS Lassen (pictured in 2009 off Vietnam) passed within 12 nautical miles of at least one of the land formations Beijing claims in the disputed Spratly Islands, US defence officials sayThe United States defied China Tuesday by sending a warship close to artificial islands the rising Asian power is building in disputed waters, prompting Beijing to furiously denounce what it called a threat to its sovereignty. The USS Lassen passed within 12 nautical miles — the normal limit of territorial waters around natural land — of at least one of the formations Beijing claims in the South China Sea. Chinese authorities “monitored, shadowed and warned” the guided missile destroyer in the Spratly islands, Beijing said.

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