China scrambled two fighter jets, a helicopter and a guided-missile frigate to deter US missile frigate which was nearing disputed islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday.
The Huangshan guided-missile frigate, two J-11B fighter jets and one Z-8 helicopter were sent to counter the US ship in the disputed South China Sea, China's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Wednesday.
“In the face of repeated provocation by the US forces, the Chinese military will further strengthen preparation for combat at sea and in the air and improve the defences to resolutely defend national sovereignty and security interests,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the USS Chafee destroyer had sailed near the disputed Islands in the South China Sea for “freedom of navigation” operation.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying that the guided-missile destroyer had carried out normal maneuvering operations “very close” to the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands.
They further said the mission was undertaken to challenge "excessive maritime claims" near the Paracel Islands, over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.
"It is a critical stage for the development of the relationship between Chinese and American armies, and we demand the U.S. side earnestly take steps to correct its mistakes and inject positive energy into bilateral ties," the ministry said.