The United States denied a Chinese claim Thursday that Chinese forces drove away a U.S. guided-missile destroyer that had entered Chinese territorial waters.
Tian Junli, a spokesman for China’s Southern Theatre Command, said the USS Milius intruded into waters around the Paracel Islands “undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
The U.S. Navy 7th Fleet rejected China’s statement as false, saying the destroyer was “conducting routine operations in the South China Sea and was not expelled.”
“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” a 7th Fleet statement said.
Tensions between China and the United States have been growing the region.