04 August, 2017
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) transits waters east of the Korean peninsula during Operation Foal Eagle.
-Japanese search for a missing American sailor who was reported overboard from a USA warship Tuesday in the South China Sea.
The Chinese navy has joined a joint U.S.
The Chinese Defense Ministry has identified one of the frigates as the Liuzhou, according to an Associated Press report; the other has not been identified.
"The search is ongoing", Navy Lt. Paul Newell, a 7th Fleet spokesman, said Thursday. Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force, the country's navy, confirmed two of its vessels as well as helicopters have been taking part in the search.
"The Chinese Liuzhou naval vessel, which performs combat preparation duties in nearby waters, carried out operational coordination with the USA side in the spirit of humanitarianism and in accordance with the "Code for Unplanned Maritime Encounters", the Chinese defence ministry said in a statement.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, a stance contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
But Chinese officials say that United States "freedom of navigation" operations in the waters violate China's sovereignty and raise tensions in the region. The sailor, however, still remains missing.