An angry Beijing warned off a United States warship after it sailed near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea in the latest operation aimed at loosening the Asian giant's grip on the strategic waterway.
The freedom of navigation operation was the third that the United States has carried out since President Donald Trump took office in January.
"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and global laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement.
He added that the Chinese navy identified the U.S. warship, issued a warning and finally expelled it from the area, without giving further details.
Tensions escalated a few years ago when China began to build seven reefs, including Mischief, into islands, including three with runways.
"According to the [Department of Foreign Affairs] they have already addressed this matter- that the area referred to is contested by both Vietnam and China, and not the Philippines", Abella said in a text message to CNN Philippines Thursday.
"This clearly shows who does not want a stable South China Sea and who is the major force driving the militarization in these waters", the ministry spokesperson said.
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The US move came four days after the United States, Australia and Japan denounced Beijing's island-building and militarisation of the South China Sea on the sidelines of a security forum of the 10-nation Asean in Manila. It's true in the South China Sea.
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The operation occurred at an awkward and tense moment, amid the war of words between the United States and North Korea.
The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with global law. The operations are conducted in accordance with global law.
Earlier Thursday, American warship USS John S. McCain sailed within a 12-mile range of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea, US officials told the media.
China's "nine-dash line" - its claimed territorial waters that extend hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan - abut its neighbors' claims and, in some cases, encroach upon them.
The US is not a party to the disputes in the busy and potentially oil- and gas-rich waters that also involve Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said Friday that a "joint effort" by China and other countries to address the territorial disputes have yielded "signs of positive developments".
The Defense Ministry said U.S. and Chinese military relations are generally "stable" but said such actions foster mistrust between the nations.
China reiterated that the US provocation will force PLA to take further measures to strengthen homeland defense capacity.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday the operation had violated Chinese and worldwide law, "seriously" impairing the country's sovereignty and security as well as "endangering lives".
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