On Thursday, the United States conducts "maneuvering drill" as a part of normal operation inside 12 nautical miles near the Mischief Reef, in the disputed South China Sea. This had China issuing a warning with two missile warships.
According to reports from Reuters, a United States' destroyer "USS Dewey" conducted a "maneuvering drill" on Thursday. The drill was conducted near an artificial island that was built by China in the South China Sea. Notably, the Mischief Reef houses the Spratly Islands that China and its neighbors have fought over.
The United States officials have said that the destroyer "engaged in normal operations by conducting a maneuvering drill inside 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef." Another official added that the action was taken to demonstrate that the Mischief Reef is not eligible to have its specific territorial sea, even though a man-made island is created on it.
However, this action was not been taken lightly by China, who has been creating artificial islands in the disputed waters. And, according to Beijing official, it had two missile warships warning USS Dewey to leave the waters and stern representation has also been lodged.
In related news, it has been reported by Global Times that the Pentagon has not shared any comment on the matter. But, the Department of Defense has said in a statement that such US military operations are conducted every day but no country is targeted through these operations. Moreover, it is in accordance with the international law.
It is worth mentioning here that this is not the first instance that China's claim on the South China Sea has been challenged by the United States. Another destroyer was sent by the United States in October 2015, which was also within 12 nautical miles of the artificially built Spratly Islands. China had called the move to be provocative but, Ash Carter, the then-Defense Secretary had said that the patrol was in accord with international law and was a routine operation.