Asia Pacific US patrol sends signal to Beijing's claims in South China Sea – but how strong?

Since the start of the Trump administration, the United States has held off from patrols challenging China's wide-reaching claims in the South China Sea, unnerving regional allies. That changed on Wednesday, but the longer-term pattern is unclear.

Kryzentia Weiermann/US Navy/REUTERS

Fifteen years ago, when China and the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations committed to establishing a code of conduct to govern actions in the South China Sea, the Paracel Islands were little more than a collection of rocks 138 miles off the coast of Vietnam.