After months of observation, the United States made its move. The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, passed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of an artificial island built by Beijing in the South China Sea.
“We are asserting the principle of global commons,” Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, told DW. “These are international waters despite China’s very strong suggestions otherwise.”
“Beijing wants to be sure it can defend whatever it claims,” Yun Sun, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at the Stimson Center, told DW. “Currently, China is not confident that it has the actual physical presence in the South China Sea to defend what it wants to claim.”