This incident is just the latest example of the US desperately trying to provoke China on its own doorstep by denying its sovereignty and legitimate claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Washington is simultaneously trying to portray China as a threat, and seeking to continue dominating the world through militarism and intimidation. Nevertheless, whatever Washington cooks up in China, it has itself created an adversary that will not back down.
There are no grounds to China's accusations that the US illegally entered its territorial waters because it lacks any legal basis for its extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea, including over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Moreover, Beijing is continuing to militarize its disputed maritime outposts and advance its interests in the region by intimidating its Asian neighbors. The US is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific and remains the only power to keep China within its limits.
The only reasonable way to resolve disputes over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea is through talks between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors. It is welcome, given increasing US-China tensions, that Beijing and the ASEAN regional bloc have expressed their commitment to negotiations toward an effective code of conduct to safeguard peace and stability that can take place without the input of Washington.
There is a 14% chance that there will be a US-China war before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.