U.S. to continue South China Sea patrols

MANILA, Philippines - The U.S. ambassador says joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea are possible when the United States demonstrates its freedom to navigation by sending planes and ships into China-claimed areas.

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Manila protested when a commercial Chinese aircraft landed recently on one of several artificial islands Beijing has built in the Spratlys, and officials say China has essentially declared an air defence identification zone over the sea by issuing "provocative" challenges to Philippine military flights in the area.

Ambassador Philip Goldberg said Wednesday that the U.S. and the Philippines both have deep interest in ensuring freedom of navigation and he is not discarding the possibility of joint patrols in the area.

Two U.S. warships have sailed by China-claimed islands in the Spratly and Paracel island chains since October.


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