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Navy Destroyer in South China Sea Near Islands Beijing Claims

Navy Destroyer in South China Sea Near Islands Beijing Claims

The Paracel Islands have been controlled by China since 1974 but they are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

Beijing has also warned United States warships and military aircraft to stay away from these islands.

South Korea's new ambassador to China said Tuesday conflict between the two countries over Seoul's deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the US "cannot continue this way".

"The US destroyer's behavior violated Chinese law and relevant worldwide law, severely harmed China's sovereignty and security interests, and threatened the lives of military personnel of both sides", ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing. The Chinese military will further strengthen its naval and air defense capability to safeguard its sovereignty and security, the ministry said.

Top US and Chinese military commanders signed a deal in August to improve communications between the two forces amid ongoing disputes in the South and East China seas - a move meant to reduce the chances of "miscalculation".

"China will continue to take resolute measures to protect Chinese sovereign territory and maritime interests".

The US "stirs up trouble" and runs "in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development", a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the time.

U.S. President Donald Trump will makes his first visit to Asia as president next month. Beijing accuses the USA of violating its sovereignty, while Washington claims the missions support "freedom of navigation" in the region. The trip will include a stop in China, which Trump has been pressuring to do more to rein in North Korea.

Unlike in August, when a U.S. Navy destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, officials said the destroyer on Tuesday sailed close to but not within that range of the islands.

China's Foreign Ministry has also urged the U.S. to "respect the sovereignty and security" of the country and stop such "erroneous acts".

China has lodged a strong protest against the United States over the entry of an American warship in the South China Sea.