China protests US Navy sailing near South China Sea claims

Published On: October 11, 2017 02:42 PM NPT By: Associated Press

BEIJING, Oct 11:  China is protesting the sailing of a U.S. Navy ship near its territorial claims in the South China Sea, saying it will continue to take measures to protect Beijing's interests in the vital waterway claimed by several nations.

A U.S. official said the destroyer USS Chafee sailed near the Paracel Islands on Tuesday, coming within 16 nautical miles (30 kilometers) of land.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Wednesday denounced the mission as dangerous and a violation of China's sovereignty. She said the military verified the presence of the U.S. ship by sea and air and warned it off.

China claims the South China Sea and its islands virtually in their entirety. The U.S. Navy regularly sails through the area to assert freedom of navigation.

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