A United States warship sailed extremely close to a Chinese held island in the South china sea early Wednesday.According to inside sources, the warship sailed to almost 12 miles off an artificial island near Mischief reef in the Spratlys group of islands. Reports said that this was the first time under Trump's administration that the U.S. navy contested Beijing's claim over this highly contested area.

Why did the U.S. warship sail provokingly close to China held island?

U.S. navy conducts "Freedom Of Navigation" operations through international waters to test countries adherence to the international laws of the seas.

However, China had rejected the Hague ruling over the illegality of Beijing's claim over the vast China sea. Thus, American passage through these waters are seen as an intrusion into Chinese territory.

The U.S. warship was to show China that Washington is enforcing the United Nations resolution over the South China Sea. This is after China had claimed almost the entire area; a move that infringed the rights of several neighboring countries the use of international waters.

What is China's position over the South China sea dispute?

The United Nations made a resolution called the "Law of the sea treaty" that defined the laws regarding the limits of territory over oceans and seas. The treaty states that the territorial waters of any country stretches 12 nautical miles from the country's shore.

This ruling almost negates all of Beijing's claim over the contested sea. Beijing doesn't accept such resolution and continued on building artificial islands on highly contested waters.

China had recently fortified many of its islands in the contested area, even placing radar stations and jet fighters. However, in a rapid turn of events, the Philippines, which is the only regional ally of the United States in the South China sea, has started to drift towards Beijing.

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China's prodding into international waters continued without clamor, especially after Trump's win wherein South China sea operations were halted until now.

How will this affect U.S.- China relations against North Korea?

The White House continually desires China to step up and apply stringent diplomatic pressure against North Korea to halt its nuclear ambition.

However, China isn't doing much to stop Pyongyang from its tests.

The United States will not back down from its freedom of navigation operations in these highly contested seas. One can only hope that such operations will not result in a serious altercation, which can ignite an untimely war between unintended enemies.