Or "The U.S. calls Red China's bluff":
A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within twelve nautical miles of an island claimed by [Red] China and two other states in the South China Sea on Saturday to counter efforts to limit freedom of navigation, the [Obam]agon said.
A serious provocation? A stirring of the pot? A raising of tensions? Not judging by Beijing's reaction:
[Obam]agon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said no ships from [Red] China's [nav]y were in the vicinity of the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur when it passed near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands....
The [Red] Chinese foreign ministry responded Saturday evening with a statement on its website condemning the action.
"The American warship has violated relevant Chinese laws by entering Chinese territorial waters without prior permission, and the [Red] Chinese side has taken relevant measures including monitoring and admonishments," [Red] China's foreign ministry said in a statement.
"Monitoring anbd admonishments". That's pretty badass, isn't it?
Either the Paracel Islands are not a top ChiComm priority, or the "People's Liberation" Navy was asleep at the switch, or their foreign ministry belatedly realized how flaccid their initial statement sounded, because they quickly downed a bottle of rhetorical Viagra and came around for a second pass:
[Red] China's defense ministry followed up later Saturday night with a far more forceful statement on its website, calling the American action "intentionally provocative and "irresponsible and extremely dangerous."
The ministry also said that [Red] Chinese navy vessels had immediately taken responsive action, conducted identification checks and promptly gave warnings for the ship to keep its distance.
"Regardless of whatever provocative steps the American side takes, [Red] China's military will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security," the ministry statement concluded.
Bluster undergirding the bluff. There's nothing "irresponsible" or "extremely dangerous" about American warships steaming through international waters. The ChiComms attempting to annex the entire South China Sea is a test to see just how far they can push, how much they can get away with, and how far we will retreat. If we simply do what we're perfectly entitled to do under international law - among other things, not allow $5 trillion of annual international trade be held hostage - Beijing is not going to go to war over that.
Not directly, anyway. They're far more likely to use North Korea to stir up trouble by proxy, or test our commitment to Taiwan. So while upholding freedom of the seas quarterly is better than nothing, it's so just barely. Let's see how long The One will keep even that up.