"The US repeatedly sends military ships without permission into seas close to South China Sea islands, seriously threatening China's sovereignty and security, damaging Sino-US relations as well as military ties and harming regional peace and stability," said Wu Qian, spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense.
Three US officials confirm that images obtained by @gCaptain are US Navy images of the "unsafe & unprofessional" encounter between the USS Decatur and a Chinese destroyer that took place Sunday while the US warship was sailing near Gaven Reef in the South China Sea pic.twitter.com/A8Z4YPuXBS— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) October 2, 2018
Wu said the Chinese navy ship conducted an identification and warning process to drive the USS Decatur away on Sunday, a day before China's National Day.
China has irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them, and the situation there is progressing well thanks to the hard work of China and countries in Southeast Asia, Wu noted.
The Chinese armed forces will continue to take all necessary steps to protect the country's sovereignty and security, Wu said.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry said it strongly urges the US to stop such provocative actions and to correct its mistakes immediately.
The incident comes as military ties between the two countries have ebbed, with Beijing angered over Washington's arms sales to Taiwan.
The two countries are in a trade war, in which they have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other's imports.