China has denied charges that it is militarizing the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. The significance of the distance of 12 nautical miles derives from the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which generally grants coastal states jurisdiction over seas within 12 nautical miles of the coast.
"The Chinese side is dissatisfied with, and opposed to, the relevant behavior of the U.S. side", Lu added, saying that the United States is "deliberately stirring up troubles in the South China Sea, as well as running in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development".
As I discussed on Friday, the Trump administration announced a new arms package for Taiwan, slapped a Chinese bank with sanctions for working with North Korea, and had earlier downgraded China's standing in a human trafficking report released by the U.S. Department of State.
"The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", he told USA Today.
Beijing includes the archipelago Paracel and several islands and reefs of the archipelago of Spratly, enlarged to accommodate potential military bases. President Trump said in a tweet last month. The U.S. does not recognize Beijing's claim of sovereignty over the islands, which it has occupied and on which it has been building fortifications.
China has recently built up its facilities on Triton Island, including a new helicopter landing site, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
The U.S. Navy's FON program, however, is a legal signaling tool and not created to either deter or coerce claimants - in the South China Sea and elsewhere.
Beijing's SChina Sea missiles ready for deployment
On May 25, the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed less than 12 nautical miles from Mischief Reef - part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, south of the Paracel Islands.
Beijing's continuing construction in the area will allow Chinese planes to operate over almost the entire South China Sea, according to the AMTI.
The U.S. Navy conducted a "freedom of navigation exercise", or FONOPS, with the maneuver, Fox reported.
Showing satellite images, AMTI said Beijing has constructed new missile shelters and communications facilities on Fiery Cross (or Kagitingan, as named by the Philippines), Mischief (Panganiban), and Subi (Zamora) Reefs.
It is expanding its already robust communications and radar capabilities on the three reefs, with "a very large antennae array" now being installed on the south side of Mischief Reef, "presumably boosting China's ability to monitor activity around the feature", the center said.
Two more domes are under construction at Mischief Reef, it said.
Apple's (AAPL) "Outperform" Rating Reaffirmed at Cowen and Company
Apple came out with a surprise in 2016, introducing the iPhone SE in the middle of its usual cycle of introducing new phones. Just look at Apple's iPhone 7, and you'll see a litany of features that weren't even thought possible ten years ago.