The USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, last month sailed close to one of China's man-made islands in the Spratly Islands archipelago to underscore its rights under international law, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing.
A US defence official said this month the Navy planned two or more patrols a quarter in the region as part of its plan to regularly exercise its rights under international law and remind China and others about its view.
The US Navy official said the next patrol in the Spratly Islands archipelago would likely take place in December.
Two US B-52 bombers also flew near the artificial Chinese islands last week, in advance of President Barack Obama's visit to the region this week to attend Asia-Pacific summits.
Obama yesterday said the disputed region would be a major focus of summit meetings among world leaders this weekend in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than USD 5 trillion of world trade transits every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.


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