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BEIJING, May 25 (Reuters) - China said on Thursday that Chinese warships warned a U.S. Navy warship to leave after it sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.
Speaking at a monthly news briefing in Beijing, Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said China had lodged stern representations to the U.S over the patrol and that such moves were not conducive to peace and stability in the South China Sea.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey sailed on a "freedom of navigation operation" close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbours. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Philip Wen; Editing by Nick Macfie)