Beijing has declared that it will take "necessary measures" to protect Chinese sovereignty, after a US Navy destroyer sailed within a 12-mile global limit claimed by China in the South China Sea, APA reports quoting Sputnik.
Scarborough Shoal, which is also claimed by Taipei and Manila and sits just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast, has always been the subject of speculation amid Beijing's massive land-reclamation projects in the South China Sea.
"We strongly urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake and stop making such provocative moves so as to avoid undermining China-US relations and regional peace and stability", he said.
Zhang Jie, a Southeast Asian affairs specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the incident on Wednesday would have been the first time a US Navy destroyer had gone so close the islets, which she described as a "very sensitive region".
China's Defense Ministry said in a statement that a Chinese frigate "immediately took actions to identify and verify the US ship and drove it away by warning".
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China claims undisputed sovereignty over Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters, although they are also claimed by the Philippines and Taiwan.
"We firmly oppose any country using navigation and overflight freedom as an excuse to hurt China's sovereignty and security interests", Lu said.
THE Philippines does not want to be part of the "US-China intramural" over the Scarborough Shoal, Malacanang said on Sunday.
China has been claiming nearly the entire South China Sea. China told the warship was told to leave a disputed portion of the South China Sea last week.
The US does not claim territory in the South China Sea, but has declared it has a national interest in ensuring that the territorial disputes there are resolved peacefully in accordance with worldwide law.
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Twelve nautical miles is an internationally recognised territorial limit.
Tensions flared between the United States and China this weekend when a USA ship sailed into waters claimed by the Asian nation.
On Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US will now refocus its military capabilities from combating terrorism to competing with China and Russian Federation.
The US has slammed China for constructing islands and military installations in the region, arguing they could be used to obstruct free trade routes.
While Beijing and Manila have a long history of maritime squabbles over sovereignty in the South China Sea, especially over the tiny shoal, those tensions have eased under the Philippine's China-friendly leader Rodrigo Duterte.
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Zhang said she expected to see more frequent confrontations between the United States and Chinese militaries in the South China Sea, with Washington putting China and Russian Federation at the centre of its new national defence strategy.