After months of deliberation, the U.S. has sent a guided missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese artificial island in the South China Sea in a move that practically rejects Chinese claims to the reclaimed reefs and has inflamed Beijing. Late Monday USS Lassen (DDG-82) came within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef — off the western coast of the Philippines — on which the Chinese have built a weather monitoring station and other facilities. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said the move by the U.S. was provocative and threatened a commensurate response to the mission.
“China will resolutely respond to any country’s deliberate provocations,” the Ministry said in a statement. “The actions of the U.S. warship have threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests, jeopardized the safety of personnel and facilities on the reefs, and damaged regional peace and stability.”