In response to the US sending the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen into the South China Sea. within 12 nautical miles of at least two Chinese-constructed and occupied islands, the Chinese government did not react beyond rhetoric.
Tuesday's U.S.action compares in many ways to the 2013 Chinese assertion of its expanded Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. The US responded by dispatching two B-52 bombers to fly through the newly claimed Chinese airspace, defying China's right to assert sovereignty over what the United States classified as international airspace.
The Empire does not like non-US expansion of reach and power, even with it is a country doing so in its own backyard.
The Chinese, for the time being, are playing it cool, but this is a dangerous game.