The United States(US) sailed a destroyer within the 12-mile radius of disputed reefs on the South China Sea, earlier today, hereby affirming freedom of navigation against China's excessive claim to a whopping 90 percent of the resource-rich sea over much vexation and protests from its smaller neighbors.
The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, broke the 12-mile radius of Subi and Mischief Reefs, where China has been erecting islands on sunken rocks and erecting aircraft landing strips over protests and disputes by the Philippines and other smaller claimants on the South China Sea.
While China has claimed its expansion is peaceful, smaller nations in the region fear the might and the military implications of the Beijing communists, and they have complained and asked for international assistance in dealing with behemoth China. The Chinese navy has harassed and pester both Vietnamese and Filipino fishermen in the region. The Philippines has sought adjudication through the International Convention of the Seas of disputes and claims on the South China Sea. As the Philippines and other smaller nations await a hearing or ruling by the world body, China has continued its expansion.
So it was with the intent of affirming freedom of navigation that the US launched the destroyer USS Lassen into the disputed waters earlier today, much to the relief of the Philippines and Japan, with which China also has disputes on the East China Sea.
China has threatened to "resolutely respond to any country's deliberately provocative action", yet the US, according to Defense Department spokesman, Commander Bill Urban, remains committed to "conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with International Law." US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has affirmed that the US will "fly, sail and operate wherever International Law allows."