China opposes U.S. provocation in South China Sea: defense ministry

BEIJING, Oct. 11 -- The Chinese Defense Ministry on Wednesday voiced strong opposition to the unauthorized entry of a U.S. warship into China's waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea.

The Chinese navy dispatched a missile frigate, two fighter jets and a helicopter to warn the U.S. ship away, the ministry said in a statement.

The U.S. navy missile destroyer Chafee entered China's territorial waters near the Xisha islands on Tuesday, said the ministry, adding the provocation infringed upon China's sovereignty and security, harmed mutual trust between the two armies as well as regional stability.

The Chinese military will further strengthen its naval and air defense capability to safeguard its sovereignty and security, according to the statement.

"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.

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