China Blasts Latest US Navy Deployment Near Paracel Islands: "Halt Provocations!"

China again put the United States on notice on Friday, warning the Pentagon to "halt provocations" in the South China Sea.

This after the latest incident involving the US destroyer John McCain sailing near the disputed Paracel Islands administered and militarized by China. 

Illustrative image: Guided missile destroyer USS Forest Sherman, Wiki Commons.

A PLA military spokesperson denounced the sail-by, saying Washington must seek permission to navigate the area. “We demand the US immediately stop such provocative actions, (and) strictly control and restrict military operations in the sea and air,” the spokesperson said.

This constitutes the latest notable incident after last summer there was a major uptick in US military flights over the region, however, during the past month there seems to have been fewer of these provocative sail-throughs.

Prior angry denunciations from Beijing related to American spy aircraft observed in the region, sometimes even shielding any identifying characteristics to appear like civilian aviation, which the PLA has said is dangerous given the possibility of 'mistaken' incidents.

The Chinese military has repeatedly charged that the US Navy has 'frequently' deployed warships in the South China Sea to "show off its force and severely infringe upon China's sovereignty and security interests," according to a quote in The Daily Mail

The Pentagon response has typically been that it's conducting peaceful 'freedom of navigation' operations to ensure adversaries adhere to international law for open waters.

China has over the past years used both artificial islands as well as expanding military bases on the tiny land masses to extend its maritime claims, butting up against that of American allies in the region like the Philippines or unrecognized Taiwan.