"If the United States continues with these kinds of dangerous, provocative acts, there could well be a seriously pressing situation between frontline forces from both sides on the sea and in the air, or even a minor incident that sparks war," Reuters quoted a Chinese naval statement as saying following a video teleconference between the admirals on Thursday.
The two naval officers held talks after a US warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of Beijing's man-made islands in the contested Spratly archipelago on Tuesday despite repeated warnings from China that such overt action would be taken as a deliberate provocation in an already strained relationship between the two countries.
China has rebuked Washington over the patrol.
"They agreed that it's very important that both sides continue to use the protocols under the CUES agreement when they're operating close to keep the chances for misunderstanding and any kind of provocation from occurring," Reuters quotes one US official as saying.
Admiral Wu Shengli said he believed the Chinese and US navies had plenty of scope for cooperation and should both "play a positive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea".