‘Serious harm to sovereignty’: Beijing angry after US destroyer sails near disputed islands

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The passage of a US Navy destroyer near the Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea was a major political and military provocation against Beijing, the Chinese Defense Ministry has warned.

The USS Mustin came within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago, known as Nansha Islands in China, Reuters reported Friday, citing unnamed officials.

The Chinese Defense Ministry was quick to confirm the report, coming up with a fiery rebuff of Washington’s behavior in the region. The Chinese Navy vessels Huangshan and Zhenjiang “took immediate action… to warn off and dispel” the US warship, Ren Guoqiang, the ministry’s spokesman, said in a statement.

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