USS Mustin (DDG-89) came within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, an artificial island in the Spratly Island chain that is home to a major airfield, and conducted maneuvers near the Chinese base. Newswire Reuters first reported the operation on Friday.

“China holds indisputable sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea,” defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said in a statement via CNN.

“By repeatedly sending military ships into these areas without authorization, the U.S. has seriously harmed Chinese sovereignty and security, violated basic rules of international relations, and harmed regional peace and stability.”

China claimed two People’s Liberation Army Navy frigates warded off the U.S. destroyer.

In a statement that did not acknowledge details of the operation, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said it conducts operations within the bounds of international law.

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