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Jan. 26, 2008, file photo, the USS Dewey (DDG 105), a United States Navy Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer, sits at the Northrop Grumman shipyard on its christening day in Pascagoula, Miss. China is protesting a U.S. Navy patrol that brought the USS Dewey near a group of manmade islands in the South China Sea that are controlled by Beijing. The Chinese defense ministry said Thursday that it had been in contact with U.S. officials over the matter. (AP/Nicole LaCour Young, File)

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


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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