U.S. Warship Challenges China’s Claims in South China Sea…

The U.S. Navy sent its third warship in less than seven months into China-claimed waters of the South China Sea as tensions rise ahead of an international court’s ruling on the territorial dispute.

The USS William P. Lawrence, a guided-missile destroyer, on Tuesday sailed within the 12-nautical-mile territorial zone around Fiery Cross Reef, a feature in the Spratly Islands where China has dumped hundreds of thousands of tons of sand and coral to create an island on which it has built an airstrip. The transit was a “freedom-of-navigation” operation by the U.S. military todemonstrate the right to fly and sail through what it considers international waters and airspace.