Remember the news we reported earlier this morning about that United States Navy destroyer passing through waters China claims are theirs after they artificially made an island out of a reef in the South China Sea?

And in it, that part about China reviewing what had actually happened and would come back with a statement regarding their findings?

Yeah, well. They came back with something.

They called it … are you sitting down? A “deliberate provocation”.

This — from The New York Times:

“China will firmly react to this deliberate provocation,” Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a regularly scheduled news conference. “China will not condone any action that undermines China’s security.”

The American ambassador, Max Baucus, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday evening and told that the United States should stop “threatening Chinese sovereignty and security interests,” the national broadcaster CCTV said.

According to many, China is merely echoing a stance they’ve been posturing all along when it comes to the South China Sea: it’s theirs, and they can do whatever they want in it, and other nations have to deal with it.

With parading the guided missile warship just 12 nautical miles away from China’s augmented reef, in a lot of ways, the U.S. called a bluff.

What’s brand-spanking new in this unfolding debacle is China’s strong language. Should their threats be taken seriously? Or should they be regarded as they have been in the past few months: words and nothing more?

What the People’s Republic doesn’t seem to be bluffing about is their island construction which, as you can see in the photograph above, doesn’t resemble a benign commercial enterprise, as they claim it is.

Stay tuned to the blog for more on this developing story.