A U.S. warship sailed near a Chinese man-made island in the disputed South China Sea in an operation that challenged China's vast territorial claims in busy worldwide waters, a U.S. Navy official said Thursday.
"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.
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.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests past year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of United Nations sanctions.
The operation took part in the South China Sea amid a backdrop of increasing tension in the region due to the ongoing North Korea crisis.
"The document nearly didn't happen because of disagreement over references to the South China Sea disputes, with Vietnam leading the push for stronger language despite objections from Cambodia and the host, the Philippines".
The Foreign Ministry pointed out that that the so-called U.S. "freedom of navigation" mission was carried out without authorization from Beijing, with has "indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spratley) and its surrounding waters". That occurred around Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Col Wu said that the Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islets are China territory, which is fully backed by historical and legal documents.
"We urge the U.S. to immediately correct its mistake, stop provocations in the name of "freedom of navigation"," it said.
The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.
The United States, Australia and Japan have promised to continue "freedom of navigation" operations in the South China Sea and called on Beijing to endorse a legally binding code of conduct over the disputed region.
The Chinese defence ministry said in a statement that the move was provocative and would severely damage the two nations' strategic trust and created difficulties and obstacles for their militaries.
The operations, according to anonymous officials, were meant to challenge China's claim on trade routes now contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The Joint Communiqué reflects the consensus of the ministers on issues concerning ASEAN, wherein Vietnam and the Philippines are member states.