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The sailing of a U.S. warship within 19 kilometers of one of China's new artificial islands in the South China Sea represents the most daring American military intervention in years.China's response to the intervention was to feign outrage, describing it as an illegal intrusion into its sovereign waters and a sign of American hypocrisy; the United States cares when China builds artificial islands in the South China Sea, the Chinese argue, but not when Vietnam or the Philippines do the same.Put another way, China is becoming the sort of superpower that feels entitled to control the sea, land, and air around its territory – just like the U.S. China is aspiring to become the equal of the U.S., one of the world's two dominant superpowers. Even if one does regard the U.S. and China as coequal superpowers, it is important to note that the U.S. has much wider international support and acceptance.
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