U.S. destroyer challenges China's claims in South China Sea

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. Mc Cain sailing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula

On Thursday, the US Navy's USS John S. McCain warship sailed within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea.

The USS John S McCain destroyer sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef, part of the disputed Spratly Islands south of the Paracel Islands.

A US Navy destroyer came within twelve nautical miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, Reuters reported even as tensions between US and North Korea continued to grab world headlines.

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

The country's Defense Ministry also lambasted the US move, calling it a "provocative act" that had seriously damaged mutual trust.

"As you all know, United States forces will operate in the Asia-Pacific region".

"All operations are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever global law allows", he said.

Two other US Navy ships approached China-claimed islands in the South China Sea in July and May.

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"Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time", the US-based think tank had said in June.

"We told them we are a U.S. [ship] conducting routine operations in global waters". The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

The new development comes amid Washington's attempts to get Beijing on board for more global pressure on North Korea over its development of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

The U.S.is reportedly concerned that China's construction of artificial islands and build-up of military facilities in the South China Sea are meant to restrict nautical movement in the area.

"But provocative actions by the USA like this one have seriously harmed mutual strategic trust, and caused difficulties and obstacles in developing military-to-military relations".

"The US provocation also forced the Chinese side to take measures to further enhance the national defense capability", the ministry added.

"The US destroyer's actions have violated Chinese and global laws, as well as severely harmed China's sovereignty and security", it said.

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