US Navy destroyer challenges Beijing in South China Sea

US destroyer in South China Sea called'provocation by Beijing

Missile systems and other defence infrastructure are believed to have also been installed on the islands, which the USA and China's neighbours fear could be used to project Chinese power into the area and potentially obstruct freedom of navigation.

Interaction between the Chinese and U.S. ships was "safe and professional", according to an unnamed United States official. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.

"China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the USA side".

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations. It was not immediately clear if the Chinese demanded the USA destroyer leave as they have done in the past.

What is known as America's Freedom of Navigation program has been seen in China as an infringement on its "lawful" claims over the South and East China Seas, two of the world's most important waterways.

In July, the USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the South China Sea for the second "fonop".

A "displeased" Beijing has slammed a US Navy destroyer's "freedom of navigation operation" near one of its artificial islands in the South China Sea, labelling the exercise a provocation.

China is tangled in a web of territorial disputes in the South China Sea with five other regional nations, which also include Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. They do that on a daily basis, including the South China Sea.

Interestingly, the PLAN Sanya naval base on Hainan Island - where a large chunk of China's submarine force, including nuclear submarines, are based - also falls under the SSF, which has 70,000 personnel in its ranks.

Territorial waters are defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as extending no more than 12 nautical miles from a state's coastline.

China's Defence Ministry said it expressed its strong opposition to the United States for the "show of force".

The Paracels play "a key role in China's goal of establishing surveillance and power projection capabilities throughout the South China Sea", the report said.

A U.S. Navy official told The Associated Press that the destroyer USS John S. McCain sailed past Mischief Reef on Thursday.

The ship entered the Meiji Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on Thursday.

The Guardian reported Friday a USA official said the Chinese frigate sent radio warning at least 10 times to the USS McCain.

"They called and said 'Please turn around, you are in our waters, '" he said. "The operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law", she said.

However, on Friday, China's Foreign Ministry protested against the voyage of the USA naval vessel in what it keeps claiming are Chinese territorial waters.

He also insisted that such operations "seriously endanger lives".

U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had acknowledged leaving out the arbitral ruling and blocking the use of the terms "non-militarization" and "land reclamation" in the joint communiqué issued by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the end of its recent ministerial meeting.

Opening its strategic South Sea Fleet base in the coastal city of Zhanjiang to a group of Indian journalists for the first time, People's Liberation Army Navy officials say the Indian Ocean is a "common place" for the global community.

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