china acted promptly after U.S. warship USS Dewey sailed 12 nautical miles off a China-held artificial island in the South China Sea. Beijing said that the United States entered the area without China's permission and should "correct" the mistake it made. China added that the maneuver was "provocative" and can hurt China's sovereign interests in the area.

Why did the U.S. Navy enter the South China Sea?

The U.S. Navy regularly conducts operations called "freedom of navigation" which entails sailing through international waters to test country's adherence to International laws.

The freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) is intended to demonstrate the capacity of the United States to fly, sail and operate under the allowance of international laws. The United States conducts such operations all over the world even with allies.

The USS Dewey, a missile destroyer came close to 12 nautical miles off an artificial island built by China over Mischief Reef in the South China Sea. Though the U.S. Navy claims that their passage through the area is allowed by international laws, China isn't happy with the intrusion. Almost all of the South China Sea is being claimed by China as its territorial waters, despite counter-claims of other nations such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

What are the repercussions of U.S. freedom of navigation operations?

The major repercussion of incursion issue of the U.S. with China is the possibility of Beijing finally cutting ties with the United States against North Korea. China is adamant that the United States do some corrections, though it is not sure what kind of corrections Beijing wants from America.

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However, any kind of diplomatic advance between Washington and Beijing will continually be linked to this territorial incursion.

China also accuses the United States of planning to militarize the region to counter Beijing's military build-up. The People's Liberation Army said that after identifying the U.S. warship, it sent a warning and it "drove" the destroyer away from the area.

Details of the encounter are still vague, but the incursion was enough to rattle the entire Chinese government.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said that the United States operate on a daily basis in the Asia-Pacific region and it is all in accordance with international law. This is why China's reaction is not treated as a lawful complaint as the United States was within the limit of law when the supposed territorial intrusion was made.