China has the right to defend its territorial waters from any foreign intrusion. The US has consistently provoked Beijing in the South China Sea — a territory to which China has a strong historic claim — as it seeks to undermine Chinese regional sovereignty. Indeed, the US fears the PRC's growing military capabilities and acts aggressively.
China's territorial claims to the South China Sea are shaky at best. It's China that continues to create problems where none existed in the first place. Though Beijing claims that its military posture is purely defensive, the PRC's aggressive tendencies towards its neighbors and the US says otherwise. China will have to reverse the dangerous course it's taking in the region.
There's a 5% chance that there will be an armed conflict in the South China Sea before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.