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China strongly dissatisfied by USA warships entering South China Sea

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The USS Preble was one of two warships conducting the operation; they were shadowed by Chinese assets, but the interactions were routine and uneventful, according to a USA official.

The FONOP involved the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble, which patrolled through the area to "challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law", as U.S. Navy 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr.

British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson confirmed in a speech Monday morning that the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail into waters that are the subject of dispute between China and other nations.

A spokesman for the 7th Fleet said the mission was conducted "in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by global law". Clay Doss, a US Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN.

The United States is expected to keep pressing China on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies' intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.

Beijing sharply criticised the operation.

The US is "determined to stir up trouble in the South China Sea, create tension and undermine peace", Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing. Beijing rejected the ruling and the authority of the tribunal.

Monday's sail-by is the second USA freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea this year. In January, the destroyer USS McCampbell sailed within 22kms of the Paracel Islands.

The Chinese military has since bolstered its presence in the region through deploying surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, jamming technology, and other defence systems to Chinese-occupied territories.

"We conduct routine and regular freedom of navigation operations as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future", he said.

The US has also sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, drawing Beijing's ire.

The US labelled the Chinese warship's actions unsafe and unprofessional, while Beijing said the US was threatening the safety and sovereignty of China.

The destroyers conducted the passage, illustrating the continuing US military presence in the area, to which China routinely has objected.

"We've got big interests there so we're going to remain there", he added, noting that about a third of the world's trade passed through those waters.

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