China has taken a series of retaliatory measures, including by scrapping a U.S. warship's planned port visit to Hong Kong and cancelling a meeting between the head of the Chinese navy and his American counterpart.
The USS Decatur was in the region conducting a so-called "freedom of navigation operation", which the US periodically undertakes as a display to China that Beijing's claim to sovereignty over the waters and islands in the area has not been internationally recognised.
But China says the US has repeatedly threatened the country's rule and safety by sending warships to its islands and the surrounding waters.
Washington-An American warship has sailed through waters off the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in the latest implicit challenge to Beijing's sweeping territorial claims in the region, the Pentagon said Sunday.
The Chinese destroyer confronted the U.S. Navy destroyer in "an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver", U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. The US insists China doesn't own them, and also that they're not really islands, so the USS Decatur, a guided-missile destroyer, was sent to sail past one of the islands, as a way to thumbing their nose at Chinese claims.
It is now routine for British, Japanese, Australian, and USA ships to sail the area, disregarding incessant warnings and orders from Chinese military officials who call global presence in the region a violation of Chinese sovereignty.
"At present, with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN nations, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized", ministry spokesman Wu Qian said. Beijing considers this Chinese territory.
"In response, the Chinese navy identified and warned the ship to leave in accordance with [the] law", said the MoFA without speaking of an "unsafe" encounter with the U.S. destroyer.
Quake strikes off Indonesia, bringing down ‘many buildings’
Waves of up to 2m (6.6ft) high swept through Palu on Sulawesi island, not long after authorities had lifted a tsunami warning. It followed a fatal 6.1 magnitude quake earlier Friday, which left one person dead and at least 10 people injured.
Australia has even announced that, in the face of a possible conflict, they will be re-opening a World War II-era naval base on New Guinea in order to more effectively project force in the South China Sea.
Naval academics theorize the collisions that killed 16 United States sailors have the Chinese navy doubting U.S. seamanship skills and giving it confidence to "intimidate" USA ship captains, Schuster said.
"Our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows", Captain Brown said in a statement.
This incident comes amid increasing tension between China and the US.
"No surprise that the PLA is challenging FONOPs near Spratlys", tweeted Zack Cooper, who studies US defence strategy in Asia at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
Trump warned in September that if Chinese President Xi Jinping refuses to budge, he will unleash tariffs on another $267 billion in Chinese imports, placing higher border taxes on basically everything the United States buys from China.
China recently denied a US request for the Navy's USS Wasp to make a port call in Hong Kong in October.