Chinese navy missile frigates identified and expelled a U.S. destroyer entering the South China Sea on May 25, the Ministry of National Defense (MOD) confirmed the same day.
MOD spokesman Colonel Ren Guoqiang told a routine press briefing that the USS Dewey entered waters adjacent to the Meiji Reef, prompting the PLA Navy missile frigates CNS Liuzhou and CNS Luzhou to identify and warn it to leave the area.
Col. Ren's remark was in response to the request to confirm media reports claiming that the USS Dewey was "within the 12-nautical mile zone of the Meiji Reef" on a so-called "freedom of navigation" mission.
He reaffirmed that China has "indisputable sovereignty" over the Nansha Islands and waters surrounding them. "The Chinese military lodged solemn representations with the United States against such acts of flaunting its forces and boosting regional militarization."
The MOD spokesman stressed that the United States is a destabilizing factor especially when the situation in the South China Sea was being ameliorated as a result of the joint efforts by China and ASEAN countries.
He said a healthy and stable military-to-military relationship was in the common interests of China and the United States whereas "erroneous acts by the U.S. military will only prompt the Chinese military to strengthen its capacity in order to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security."
Earlier this month, the MOD accused the United States of conducting close-in reconnaissance in the airspace over the Yellow Sea. MOD spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian said such spying activities of U.S. military aircraft and vessels were the "fundamental causes" of problems in security issues between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Ren rebuffed Japanese media's allegation that China was deploying HQ-9 air defense missiles in the southern province of Hainan and was about to mark off a no-fly zone in the South China Sea.
He said that deploying weapons in Hainan was China's own business within the scope of its sovereignty.
"As for the so-called 'no-fly zone,' it is a complete fabrication by the Japanese media. I am astonished by how far the fabrication has gone."