A Chinese warship shadowed a US destroyer conducting a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea on Tuesday, as Beijing and Moscow flew bombers in a joint patrol mission over the Western Pacific, according to reports.
The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain conducted the operation in the South China Sea to send a message to China over its disputed territory in the Spratly Islands, Fox News reported.
“This freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan,” the 7th Fleet Public Affairs office wrote in a statement, the report said.
“All interactions with foreign military forces were consistent with international norms and did not impact the operation.”
The McCain was shadowed by a Chinese warship, but all interactions were considered “safe and professional,” an official told Fox News.
The US ship sailed by Gaven Reef and Johnson South Reef in the Spratly Islands, which China has claimed and has bolstered with weapons and a military base.
Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines also claim sovereignty over the islands.
China and Russia also displayed their deepening military ties by sending bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.