On Thursday, the US Navy’s USS John S. McCain warship sailed within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea.
“The US destroyer’s actions have violated Chinese and international laws, as well as severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement.
“China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the US side,” he added.
This was the US Navy’s third such mission under Donald Trump’s presidency. Beijing said the move was aimed at challenging its “indisputable sovereignty” over the disputed waters.
Territorial waters are generally defined by international law as extending at most 12 nautical miles from a country’s coastline.
Two other US Navy ships approached China-claimed islands in the South China Sea in July and May.
This time, Chinese warships were scrambled to identify the USS McCain and “warn it off,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“The US provocation also forced the Chinese side to take measures to further enhance the national defense capability,” it added.