SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China’s foreign ministry said a U.S. navy destroyer that carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday in the South China Sea had violated international and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing’s sovereignty and security.
U.S. officials earlier told Reuters the USS John S. McCain had travelled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals, an area where China has territorial disputes with its neighbours.
“The U.S. destroyer’s actions have violated Chinese and international laws, as well as severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security,” the ministry said late on Thursday in a statement on its website.
“China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the U.S. side.”
Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Gareth Jones