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China warned a US Navy warship on a 'freedom of navigation operation' to leave

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China announced Thursday that it had warned a U.S. Navy warship against remaining in the South China Sea after it sailed 12 nautical miles off the coast of an artificial island built by China, Reuters reported.

Defense Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang announced at a monthly news briefing in Beijing that China had let the U.S. know it wasn't happy about the patrol and that any similar actions were not conducive to peace and stability in the region. 

Anonymous U.S. officials said the USS Dewey was conducting a "freedom of navigation operation" in proximity to Michief Reef in the Spratly Islands -- a string of small islands, reefs and shoals whose ownership China is currently disputing with its neighbors. 

The patrol came in response to what Washington considers efforts by China to limit freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

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