US Navy backing away from China confrontation

The U.S. Navy is unlikely to carry out another patrol within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea this year, three U.S. defense officials said on Monday.
The U.S. Pacific Command had hoped to carry out another "freedom of navigation" exercise in the region as early as December as part of the Navy's plan to regularly exercise its rights under international law, officials have said.
The U.S. Navy conducted a similar exercise in October to underscore the U.S. view that the crucial sea lane claimed by China should be treated as international water.
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