The Chinese government is strenuously protesting the most recent U.S. Navy Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, nearly all of which Beijing essentially claims as its own.

China’s foreign ministry said the country would take “firm measures” in response to the FONOP by the USS Chafee, which sailed near the Paracel Islands on Oct. 10 and came within 16 nautical miles of land.

The Navy does not announce its FONOPs beforehand.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying denounced the mission as dangerous and a violation of China’s sovereignty. She added that Chinese warships and aircraft warned off the American warship.

“The Chinese government will continue to take firm measures to safeguard national territory, sovereignty, and maritime interests,” she said.

That said, the warning was fairly mild in context and indicates that the Chafee wasn’t really that close to China-claimed territory.

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