Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. boiled over this week when the communist nation threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the American territory of Guam. Knowing that there’s no time left to waste, Donald Trump decided to put more pressure on China to cut off North Korea by sending them a message that they can’t ignore.
Western Journalism reported that Trump sent a destroyer in on Thursday to sail past one of the artificial islands China has built in the South China Sea, a disputed region. The USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, came within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, a man-made island that contains a runway and military fortifications China has built as part of its effort to claim the region as its own.
BREAKING: US Navy destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of Chinese island in the South China Sea in a 'freedom of navigation operation'
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) August 10, 2017
A P-8 reconnaissance plane was also dispatched by the Navy to monitor the operation.
This was the third “freedom of navigation” challenge since Trump took office, and though China lost no protest this time, the nation voiced it’s dismay for the last one back in May.
“This behavior by the United States military is a show of force to promote the militarization in the region, and would very easily lead to accidents on the sea and in the air,” Sr. Col. Ren Guoqiang said in statement.
The Pentagon, however, wasn’t having any of it.
“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Jamie Davis said in May. “We have a comprehensive freedom of navigation operations program that seeks to challenge excessive maritime claims in order to preserve the rights, freedoms and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law.”
This comes as China continues to support North Korea, a nation that is largely dependent on them. If China were to cut North Korea off, the communist country would have no choice but to cease their nuclear testing projects in order to survive.