U.S. defense officials say Chinese vessels confronted a U.S. Navy surveillance ship in the Yellow Sea on Friday.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday that the incident involving the USNS Victorious will be addressed diplomatically.  Whitman said Chinese fishing boats performed dangerous maneuvers near the surveillance ship, which he said was conducting "routine operations" in the area.

Speaking earlier to reporters on condition of anonymity, pentagon officials said two Chinese boats came within less than 30 meters of the USNS Victorious.  The defense officials said the U.S. ship used its water hoses to warn off the Chinese vessels.

The U.S. Navy says the Victorious is part of a special fleet of government-owned ships that use sonar equipment to help the U.S. Navy monitor underwater threats.   

A Navy Web site says the Victorious normally has a crew of 24 civilian contractors.

Another ship in the submarine-monitoring fleet, the USNS Impeccable, was involved in a confrontation with Chinese vessels.  Five Chinese boats came within eight meters of the Impeccable in March in the South China Sea.

China said the U.S. Navy was operating illegally in its exclusive economic zone 120 kilometers off the Chinese island of Hainan.

Washington said the Chinese vessels acted dangerously and unlawfully in international waters.

The United States said it will not end its surveillance activities in the region and sent a U.S. Navy destroyer to escort the Impeccable.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.