China’s Foreign Ministry has said that the United States had seriously damaged peace and stability in the south china sea after a U.S. Warship sailed near a disputed island claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed on Sunday within 12 nautical miles of triton island, part of the Paracel islands in the south china sea.

A U.S. Official said the operation was meant to challenge the competing claims of all three nations.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang called the move a “Serious provocative political and military move” at a regular briefing in Beijing on Monday.

In a separate statement, the ministry said china had sent battle ships and fighter jets to warn off the Stethem.

Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognized internationally. Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show that the United States does not recognize territorial claims there.