U.S. says Chinese destroyer came dangerously close to U.S. ship

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China has taken a series of retaliatory measures, including scrapping a U.S. warship's planned port visit to Hong Kong and canceling a meeting between the head of the Chinese navy and his American counterpart.

It was previously reported that the USS Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs through territory claimed by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

A Chinese warship had an "unsafe and unprofessional" interaction with an American destroyer in the South China Sea, according to USA defence officials.

It confirmed that the Luoyang, a Chinese missile destroyer, was immediately deployed to identify the US warship and drive it away.

"A (People's Republic of China) Luyang destroyer approached USS Decatur in an unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea", Captain Charles Brown, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, told CNN.

In addition, last week the B-52s also participated in a US-Japan joint military exercise in the East China Sea, where Tokyo and Beijing both claim sovereignty over the group of uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

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These types of missions, often a thorn in Beijing's side, demonstrate that the USA does not recognise China's extensive and previously discredited territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Luyang approached with 45 yards of Decatur's bow, after which Decatur moved to prevent a collision.

"Our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows", he said.

A Chinese Luyang-class destroyer steered within 45 yards of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer near the Spratly Islands in a confrontational exchange that United States officials deemed "unsafe,"CNN first reported on Monday".

"China's military is resolutely opposed to this", it said.

One official said the Chinese destroyer came as close as 41 metres to the American ship.

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The Chinese foreign ministry said it strongly urged the U.S.to stop its "provocative" actions.

The latest manoeuvre by the two militaries came amid escalating tensions in China-US relations.

China has reportedly cancelled a security meeting later this month with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Chinese government said the USA had no right to interfere in Chinese military cooperation with Russian Federation.

A statement Monday from the U.S. Pacific Fleet blasted the Chinese response as "aggressive".

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe is due to visit the United States later this year but China's Defence Ministry suggested last week that may not happen.

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