China protests to U.S. over sail-by in disputed waters

US warship sails near islands claimed by China, angering Beijing: report

China's Defense Ministry said Wednesday that it sent a warship, two fighter jets and a helicopter to warn the USA destroyer away, calling the move a "provocation".

"In the face of repeated provocation by the USA forces, the Chinese military will further strengthen preparation for combat at sea and in the air and improve the defences to resolutely defend national sovereignty and security interests", the ministry said in a statement.

Beijing says that guided missile destroyer the USS Chafee, entered its territory on Tuesday and carried out "freedom of navigation" maneuvers without Chinese consent.

"China urges the U.S. side to respect Chinese sovereignty and security interests as well as the efforts of regional countries to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea", Hua added.

It added that the Huangshan guided-missile frigate, two J-11B fighter jets and one Z-8 helicopter had been sent to deter the USA ship from the region.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has filed a formal complaint with U.S. authorities in protest of a USA naval destroyer crossing into territorial waters claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea near the Xisha Islands.

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The disputed Paracel Islands consist of a group of islands, reefs and shoals presently controlled and occupied by the People's Republic of China but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

The situation in the South China Sea has been precarious since Japan and South Korea, two major allies of the USA in the region, protested what they described as China's undercutting of naval sovereignty of neighboring nations in the region.

China, in turn, has accused the United States of illegally trespassing into what it sees as its territorial waters.

This comes after US President Donald Trump's requested China's cooperation in addressing North Korea's missile and nuclear programs during his UN speech during the General Assembly of the United Nations in September.

China claims the South China Sea and its islands virtually in their entirety, and its military expelled Vietnamese forces from the Paracels in 1974.

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