A U.S. Navy destroyer reportedly sailed near Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday.
"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.
She also said that China already lodged a protest to the USA government.
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".
In July, the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem conducted a "freedom of navigation exercise" around Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago, which is claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
It added that it would further strengthen its naval and air defenses. China regards a major part of the sea as its territory though there are contesting claims by four other countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines.
Expressing firm opposition to the US move, Hua said China will continue to take resolute measures to protect its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests.
The number of medical tourists from the United States inched down 4.6 percent on-year during the cited period, the data showed.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, and has heavily militarized some islands in the region and expanded other territories with major land reclamation work, turning sandbars into islands and equipping them with airfields, ports and weapons systems.
Experts and some USA officials have criticized former president Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping. The warship allegedly carried out a "freedom of navigation" operation near the islands, according to an exclusive report by Reuters.
The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.
The incident comes as USA officials are pressing China to use more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to prevent further military escalation in the region.
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