US sends warships near disputed islands in South China Sea: report

US sends warships near disputed islands in South China Sea: report
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U.S. warships on Sunday cruised by disputed islands in the South China Sea in a planned exercise, Reuters reported.

China currently asserts its right to the islands. 

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“We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs), as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” said the United States Pacific Fleet, according to the news service.

It noted that the exercise comes as the United States pursues negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program, for which the Trump administration has sought China’s help. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE last week canceled the planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. But Trump said Friday that U.S. officials were still working toward the June 12 meeting. 

“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date,” the president wrote on Twitter.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that Kim is dedicated to the planned meeting with Trump and to dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.