Two Ming vessels at the bottom of the sea don’t establish legal title
USA has a better and more decisive approach - they didn't just claim North America; they simply went to occupy and almost ethnically cleansed the natives there.
Spot on. Folks wanting to cover the same story in more detail can usefully consult Bill Hayton's "The South China Sea: the Struggle for Power in Asia" (2014)
Thanks for writing and posting this.