Late last month, the United States Navy conducted a freedom of navigation operation (Fonop) in the South China Sea. The USS Decatur, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed into the 12 nautical mile zone of Gaven and Johnson reefs.
This was the eighth publicised Fonop under the Trump administration. But this Fonop near the reefs - which are artificial islands occupied by China - triggered more than the usual attention because of a near collision between the USS Decatur and a Chinese destroyer.
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