China and the USA maintain different interpretations on global law as applied to the operation of warships, and Beijing has ignored a Hague arbitration court's ruling that invalidated much of its South China Sea claim. Neither China's defense ministry nor its foreign ministry immediately responded to a request for comment.
Wu Qian, spokesman for the Chinese Defence Ministry also conveyed its dissatisfaction on the issue, saying that this U.S. provocation leaves the Chinese military no option but to strengthen its armed forces in order to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "The provocation by the USA side has compelled the Chinese side to take measures to further enhance its capability to defend its territory", the spokesperson added.
The mission comes as the USA seeks China's cooperation on resolving the tension over North Korea's missile tests, which is perceived in Washington as a serious threat to the U.S. and its regional allies.
Under the Philippines' chairmanship, the regional body has effectively echoed China's position on the South China Sea, where Beijing is continuously expanding and upgrading artificial islands meant to reinforce its contentious claims to sovereignty.
The US, Australia and Japan had issued a statement at ASEAN opposing "coercive unilateral action" and any militarisation of the islands - after Vietnam failed in a push to have the code of conduct be legally binding.
It is the third time this year that United States ships traveled within 12 nautical miles of land claimed by China, the report said.
"China's own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys".
The AMTI's satellite images, as of August 5, show that China continued its reclamation activities in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea after 2015. South Korea ($US249 billion) and Singapore ($US214 billion) were ranked second and third. Irked by Hanoi's proactive diplomacy, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi canceled a scheduled meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh. "It's true in other places around the world, as well", she added.
China and the Asean countries are focusing on strengthening cooperation to promote comprehensive and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and jointly develop regional rules. It is also alleged to have threatened countries operating in the area including Vietnam.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says in a statement that the current situation on the Korean Peninsula "is complex and sensitive".
The official People's Daily, in a comment piece published online on Friday, labelled Australia, the United States and Japan as troublemakers.
China has deployed underwater drones -torpedo-shaped vehicles - called Haiyi, or sea wings in Mandarin- in the strategic South China Sea waterway for scientific purposes where they will remain underwater for a month, according to reports.