This time, as we sailed by Subi Reef, China did not try to stop us:
A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed close to one of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said it had tracked and warned the ship and called in the U.S. ambassador to protest.
Is it too much to hope that our ambassador told them that we would file their protest appropriately?
We also sailed to close to Vietnam and Philippines territory for a similar message: this is international water.
We need to guard against the possibility that China will try to disable one of our warships as it makes a freedom of navigation patrol.
China forced our EP-3 plane to land in China back in 2001, recall. Let's not have one of our ships disabled with a propeller fouled in fishing nets and then set upon by Chinese coast guard vessels to tow it to port in a "rescue."
Kudos to the president for challenging China. This has to be regular to be a meaningful defense of freedom of the seas rather than just checking a box to say something was done.
UPDATE: Austin Bay comments on the mission.