USS Lassen during exercise Foal Eagle 2015, in waters east of the Korean Peninsula, March 12, 2015. (Reuters/US Navy)
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Chinese warships gave warnings to a U.S. navy ship as it patrolled close to China's man-made islands in the South China Sea, China's defence ministry said Tuesday, adding that the military would take all necessary steps to protect the country's interests.The United States defied China Tuesday by sending a warship close to artificial islands the rising Asian power is building in disputed waters, prompting Beijing to furiously denounce what it called a threat to its sovereignty.Washington's long-awaited move to assert from of navigation in the South China Sea also escalated the dispute over the strategically vital waters, where Beijing has been transforming reefs and outcrops into artificial islands with potential military use.China claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the area, raising concerns it may one day seek to dictate who may transit its bustling sea lanes. The U.S., which is engaged in a foreign policy "pivot" to Asia, and China, which has the world's largest military and is expanding the reach of its navy, are jockeying for position in the Pacific.
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