The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) has sailed in the vicinity of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on April 28, the service announced.
A #USNavy Sailor stands watch on the bridge, as the forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer #USSBarry (DDG 52) operates in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, April 28. @US7thFleet #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific pic.twitter.com/j21TqDsSzB
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) April 29, 2020
Paracel Islands, also known as Hoàng Sa in Vietnamese and Xisha in Chinese, is a disputed group of islands in the South China Sea currently controlled and occupied by China. The islands are also claimed by Vietnam (occupied before 1974) and Taiwan.
The Chinese military accused the destroyer of “intruding into Chinese territory waters” near the Beijing-controlled Paracel Islands, saying the “provocative act” violated Chinese sovereignty, according to a report by South China Morning Post.
This is the second transit by a U.S. Navy destroyer near the Paracel Islands in the past two months. On March 10, another destroyer USS McCampbell sailed near the disputed islands.
According to the Navy, USS Barry is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations “in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”. The warship’s homeport is Naval Station Yokosuka, Japan.
The destroyer transited the strategic Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China, two times earlier this month. The first transit occurred on April 10 and the second on April 23. This was the second and third transit of a U.S. Navy destroyer through the Taiwan Strait in a month. On March 25, the destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) sailed through the strategic waterway.