Guides-missile USS Spruance and USS Preble destroyers sailed within the Spratly Islands's 12 nautical mile as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation."
Operation is being conducted "to challenge excess maritime claims and maintenance of access to waterways as governed by international law," Cmdr. Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy's 7th Fleet, told CNN.
"All operations are designed according to international law and show that the United States flies, sail and operate where international law permits," Doss added. "this is true in the South China Sea like other places around the world."
Shortly after that operation, China accused the US of over its territorial waters – and it said it had deployed missiles "the ships."
"US action violated the law in China and international law, violated China's sovereignty, peace, security, and regional harm, "said Lu Kang at that time. "China will have the necessary measures to protect state sovereignty." In late September, USS Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs on the Spratly Islands as part of a similar freedom in navigation operations.
In that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the United States warship, which forced it to hurry to prevent collisions. The US identified the actions of the Chinese warship as unsafe and non-professional, while Beijing said that the US threatens China's safety and power. : How the Beijing did not descend over the South China Sea "class =" media__image "src =" http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181219133947-20181218-decatur-lanzhou-illo-large- 169.jpg "/>