Washington, D.C .:
USS Mustin, a U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, questioned Beijing's claims in the highly competitive South China Sea and sailed near the Paracel Islands on Thursday (local time), CNN reported.
"On May 28 (local time), the USS Mustin (DDG 89) claimed navigation rights and freedoms on the Paracel Islands in accordance with international law," said Lt. Anthony Junco, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, quotes a statement.
"By performing this operation, the United States has shown that these waters are beyond what China can legitimately claim to be its territorial sea," the statement added.
The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
The move comes amid growing tensions between two countries on a number of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, in which the US has criticized China for the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.
China's decision to introduce a controversial national security law in Hong Kong has also been sharply criticized by the United States and its allies.
On Thursday, the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia issued a joint statement expressing deep concern over China's move to introduce Hong Kong legislation, which would undermine and in the "one country, two systems" framework "Direct conflict" would be its international commitments based on the principles of the legally binding Sino-British joint declaration registered by the United Nations.
The mustin happened within 12 nautical miles from Woody Island and Pyramid Rock in the islands, the report said, citing a U.S. Navy official.