"The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson - DDG 114 steams near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea," the statement said. "Ralph Johnson is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts for a free and open Indo-Pacific."
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States rejected Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea as fully illegal.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington responded in a statement saying that China “firmly opposed” the latest statement from Pompeo.
China considers the Spratly archipelago to be its territory, despite the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, which said there was no legal basis for China's maritime claims. The arbitration proceeding was initiated by the Philippines in January 2013.