US to patrol near East Sea islands illegal built by China hinh anh 1China's illegal land reclamation in the East Sea. (Source: AFP)

The US is planning to conduct patrols near artificial islands illegally built by China in the East Sea, according to the New York Times.

The paper said the patrols will come within 12 nautical miles of at least one of the islands.

Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David B. Shear told the US Senate at a recent hearing that there haven’t been any patrols that close to a reclaimed island since 2012.

In May, a US Navy surveillance plane flew near three of the five Chinese-built islands but did not enter the 12-mile zones, and were warned eight times by Chinese Navy radio operators to leave the area.

Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, chairman of the national defence and security committee on October 12 welcomed the US patrol decision. He said in a telephone interview that the patrols are necessary and can help remove the bottleneck in the situation while not increasing tension in the region.

Officials in the Philippines said that they have been told of the planned patrols in the last several days. Filipino Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F.del Rosario said the US patrols will help maintain stability in the region.

“Failure to challenge false claims of sovereignty would undermine this order and lead China to the false conclusion that its claims are accepted as a fait accompli,” Mr. del Rosario said in a statement.

Earlier, in a report released on August 20, the US Defence Department accused China of increasing their land reclamation in the East Sea archipelago over recent months while intensifying patrols surrounding waters to assert its sovereignty claims.

The US’s report “Asia- Pacific Maritime Security Strategy” said China’s activities to build artificial islands in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago surged nearly 50 percent compared to May. It stated that China’s latest activities outweighed other efforts in size and level of influence, promoting China’s more powerful presence in the East Sea.

US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter affirmed that the US will “fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows”.-VNA