Chinese warship challenges USA in South China Sea

‘Maneuvered to prevent collision’: Chinese destroyer chases USS Decatur in South China Sea

Tense International Encounter Unfolds in South China Sea

The Chinese vessel, according to the U.S. military, sailed within 45 yards of the United States warshipl, a unsafe distance given the size and speeds of these ships.

During the operation, a Chinese Luyang destroyer approached the USS Decatur in "an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea", US Pacific Fleet spokesman Commander Nate Christensen said.

The behavior 'gravely threatens China's sovereignty and security, gravely damages relations between China and the United States and their militaries, and gravely injures regional peace and stability'. China has reclaimed 3,200 of acres of land in the features and built ports, runways and other military infrastructure. The operations are meant to enforce the right of free passage in worldwide waters under global law.

This photo taken on December 24, 2016 shows the Liaoning, China's only aircraft carrier, sailing during military drills in the Pacific.

The Chinese destroyer "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive manoeuvres accompanied by warnings for Decatur to depart the area", Gorman said in an emailed statement.

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The US has accused a Chinese naval ship of conducting "unsafe and unprofessional" manoeuvres when one of its warships entered the waters of the disputed South China Sea.

China expressed anger on Tuesday after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, saying it resolutely opposed an operation that it called a threat to its sovereignty. Such operations need to be within 12 nautical miles of an island or territory to constitute a challenge under global law.

Washington has blasted Beijing for its island-building in the South China Sea, fearing the outposts could be used to restrict free movement in the waterway. In addition, they were "seriously undermining the relations between the two countries and the two armed forces, and seriously endangering regional peace and stability", it said.

China's defence and foreign ministries each released statements Tuesday sharply criticizing the United States, though not disputing details of the USA accusations involving the Decatur.

It also comes as military ties between the two countries have dived since Donald Trump became president in 2017.

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Washington last week enacted new tariffs against China covering another $200 billion of its imports.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mattis was no longer going to China.

On Monday it emerged that Beijing had called off security talks planned for October between US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe.

China has demanded the US cancel its sale to Taiwan of $330 million in parts for USA -made F-16 fighters and other military aircraft used by the island nation, which mainland China regards as a renegade province.

Earlier Monday, reports surfaced that China had called off a security conference with United States officials.

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The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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