China has accused US of "undermining" peace and stability in the disputed South China Sea, where a US navy destroyer was found sailing across territorial waters of Xisha Islands on Saturday.
The People's Liberation Army sent warnings and drove away a US navy destroyer intruding into Chinese territorial waters, the Ministry of National Defense was quoted as saying by Xinhua on Saturday.
The USS Curtis Wilbur, a guided missile destroyer, violated China's laws by intruding into Chinese territorial waters, the ministry's spokesman Yang Yujun said in a written statement issued on Saturday night.
"The Chinese troops stationed at the islands and naval ships and airplanes made an immediate response, took countermeasures and conducted identification and verification against the US warship," Yang said.
The US action was "a serious violation of law, it damaged the peace and security of relevant waters and good order, and it is not helpful to regional peace and stability" and the Chinese ministry "expresses resolute opposition," Yang said.
However, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis was quoted as saying by Reuters that no ships from China's military were in the vicinity of the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur when it passed near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands.
The US has a history of sending warships or aircraft into China's relevant waters or airspace multiple times, leading to brushes between the two militaries, Yang was quoted as saying.
In October, the US Navy conducted a similar exercise in which the guided-missile destroyer Lassen sailed close to one of China's man-made islands, also drawing a rebuke from Beijing.