A U.S. Navy Destroyer in the vicinity of a man-made island in South China Sea was told to leave the area by Chinese warships, a Chinese defense official said on Thursday.
Ren Guoqiang, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman, said China sternly warned the U.S. over its patrol near the disputed territory and that the moves were “not conducive to peace and stability” in the region.
The destroyer was less than 12 nautical miles from a man-made island, he said.
The USS Dewey, a guided-missile destroyer, made the passage near the Mischief Reef.
The patrol was the first “freedom of navigation operation” to occur near a Chinese artificial island since President Trump took office in January, a U.S. defense official said.
The U.S. deployed its aircraft carrier and a submarine to the Korea Peninsula following North Korea’s missile launch provocations.