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Navy identifies missing Stethem Sailor

Navy identifies missing Stethem Sailor

The Chinese Ministry of Defence said on Thursday that its warship Liuzhou, from the South China Sea Fleet, was working with the U.S. to find the missing marine "in the spirit of humanitarianism".

Hopkins was reported missing about 9 a.m.as the ship transited 140 miles west of Subic Bay, Philippines, a Navy statement said.

On Thursday, China said it helped the U.S. search for the sailor, a rare cooperative gesture in the disputed waters.

The three navies spent a total of 79 hours in the "comprehensive" search, which covered roughly 25,900 sq.km (10,000 sq. miles), the 7th Fleet said in the statement.

The two nations called off their routine joint operation to focus on the search, a Japanese navy spokesman told AFP.

The Navy is now investigating the incident.

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According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, the USS Stethem missile destroyer trespassed Chinese territorial waters off the Xisha/Paracel Islands in South China Sea. Eastern time, officials from 7th Fleet announced.

"I appreciate greatly the dedication and professionalism shown by all who participated in the search efforts", Williams said.

"After an extensive search, with help from the JMSDF and PLA (N), we were unable to locate our Sailor", Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, said in a Navy news release.

Early last month, the Pentagon sent the Stethem near to disputed Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago in the South China Sea. "I offer my deepest condolences to the sailor's family, friends, and the Stethem Steelworkers".

The sailor was reported missing and assumed overboard August 1 around 9 a.m. local time while Stethem was conducting routine operations about 140 miles west of Subic Bay in the Philippines, in the South China Sea.