>> Tensions in the South China Sea flaring Tuesday as a US guided missile destroyer got too close for China's comfort. China scrambling fighter jets as the US ship sailed within 12 miles of the Chinese occupied Fiery Cross Reef in an area of man-made islands China has been building up over the last few months.
China's claim over the hotly contested trade route at odds with smaller neighboring countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei. The United States contends that the South China Sea's international water. Secretary of State John Kerry says the US patrol was a way to maintain a freedom of navigation near the islands, and to prevent China from claiming control of the route.
China's foreign ministry denouncing the US move as an illegal threat to peace.>>
> This action by the US side threatened China's sovereignty and security interests, endangered the staff and facilities on the reef, and damaged regional peace and stability.>> The islands have been the site of international display as a bravado.
China and the US have traded accusations of militarizing the area as China undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction, while the US has increased its patrols and exercises.