WASHINGTON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The chairman of the influential U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday criticized the Obama administration for delaying further "freedom of navigation" patrols within 12 nautical miles of islands built by China in the South China Sea.
Senator John McCain said China was continuing to "pursue its territorial ambitions" in the region, including by landing a plane on a man-made island in the Spratly Islands on Jan. 2.
McCain told Reuters in a statement that the U.S. military's failure to conduct additional U.S. patrols last year was "disappointing yet hardly surprising." He said the Obama administration was "either unable to manage the complexities of interagency national security decision making or simply too risk averse to do what is necessary to safeguard the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific."
(Reporting by David Alexander)
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