Admiral: US hasn’t stepped up sea patrols to confront China

  • Captain John Driscoll, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750), background, talks to the media as it arrives for a port call in the first visit by a U.S. cutter in over seven years, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. Driscoll told reporters that two Chinese Coast Guard ships were spotted off the South China Sea while they were conducting a joint exercise with Philippine Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson fields questions during a media roundtable on the sidelines of the International Maritime Defense Exhibition in Singapore, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)

  • The U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) arrives for a port call in the first visit by a U.S. cutter in over seven years, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. Capt. John Driscoll, commanding officer of the Bertholf, told reporters that two Chinese Coast Guard ships were spotted off the South China Sea while they were conducting a joint exercise with Philippine Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

SINGAPORE — A top U.S. admiral said Wednesday the Navy has not stepped up maritime patrols to challenge China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea but is maintaining a “consistent” presence in the disputed waters.