[Washington = Etsunari Kurose]On the 12th, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet launched a missile destroyer “Benfold” belonging to the same fleet around the Paracel Islands (Chinese name: Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea on the same day as “Freedom of Navigation”. Announced that it was carried out. In February, the US Navy also conducted a free navigation operation around the islands in the South China Sea for the first time since the inauguration of the Biden administration. “China’s allegations of illegal interests throughout the South China Sea are serious about freedom of the seas, including freedom of navigation and flight, free trade and smooth commerce, and freedom of economic opportunities for coastal countries in the South China Sea,” said a spokesman for the 7th Fleet. “It’s a threat,” he said. “The United States will support freedom of navigation as a fundamental principle,” and clarified its opposition to China. A spokesman also argued that the PLA’s allegations that “the U.S. ship sailed near the islands without the permission of the Chinese government and undermined China’s sovereignty” were “false.” .. The Parasell Islands were put under control by China in 1974 after a battle with the then South Vietnamese (now the Republic of Vietnam) Army, and Vietnam and Taiwan are still claiming sovereignty in addition to China.