China objected Monday to the passage of two U.S. warships near disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the warships entered the waters without Chinese permission.
He said the warships had violated China's sovereignty, while also harming peace, security "and good order in the relevant seas."
China has expanded its control over much of the South China Sea in recent years, building military bases and airstrips on tiny islands and reefs. The United States and its allies have responded with freedom of navigation exercises near Beijing's disputed claims to ensure that China does not block sea and air traffic
Reuters quoted a U.S. military spokesman saying the vessels were involved in an "innocent passage" to challenge "excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways."