US President Donald Trump approved a plan giving the US's navy more freedom to carry out patrols in South China sea and put pressure on China's efforts to enlarge its military presence by artificially builiding reefs and atolls in the area.
According to Diplomats, the move is seen as a challenge to Beijing's maritime claims over most of the South China Sea and its attempts to overrule overlapping claims by five other countries, Vietnam, Malayasia, Indonesia, Brunie and the Philippines.
The US move will keep Chinese navy busy in the region and make it difficult for Beijing to deal with territorial disputes with other countries such as India and Japan.
This decision came soon after Chinese warships began moving towards the Baltic Sea for a joint naval exercise with Russian navy.
Jim Mattis, US defence secretary, has made a new plan which involves a full-year schedule of when US navy will sail through disputed waters.
This move will make difficult for communist party to resolve territorial disputes with other countries such as India and Japan.
The navy will enjoy more freedom than it did during the Obama administration, which insisted on the National Security Council approving major operational decisions. Under former President Barack Obama, the US suspended freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea from 2012 to 2015.
In 2016, an international court at The Hague deemed China's maritime claims unlawful and excessive, but China rejected the ruling outright and has continued to build military installations and unilaterally declare no-fly and no-sail zones.
China has responded to US incursions into the region, telling the US moves were provocative and that they must ask permission, which doesn't align with interantional law or UN conventions.