U.S. Destroyer Made an ‘Innocent Passage’ Near Chinese South China Sea Artificial Island in Recent Mission

USNI News – Last week’s South China Sea freedom of navigation mission — in which a U.S. guided missile destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese facility on an artificial island on Subi Reef — was conducted as an “innocent passage.” While the mission of USS Lassen (DDG-82) was deemed successful by Washington, focusing world attention on the myriad of overlapping and disputed claims in the South China Sea, the use of the innocent passage stipulation could result in a perception that the U.S. implicitly acknowledges Chinese claims to its recently constructed artificial islands.