However, the US officials said that the USS John S. McCain sailed past an island in the disputed Spratly chain in the South China Sea, which is the third mission under the Trump administration.
The AMTI's satellite images, as of August 5, show that China continued its reclamation activities in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea after 2015.
But as the neo-protectionist rhetoric and anti-Chinese policy posture of Donald Trump was gradually established as the official view, the deep and multifaceted economic interdependence between China and the U.S.at both state and corporate levels is being thoroughly tested.
Although China opposes inclusion of the sea disputes in worldwide conferences, partly to prevent the U.S. and other Western governments from intervening, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan's new top diplomat, Taro Kono, expressed concern over aggressive actions in the waters. He is the author of "Asia's New Battlefield: U.S., China and the Struggle for the Western Pacific", and the forthcoming book "Rise of Duterte".
"The US military's provocative actions will only encourage the Chinese military to further strengthen the defense capacity building and firmly defend national sovereignty and security", Qian said.
The operation was illegal and carried out without permission from Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. Despite the 65 year-old U.S. -Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, the Philippines was not sure Washington would back it militarily in a conflict with China.
Under former President Obama, the U.S. suspended FONOPs in the South China Sea for three years between 2012 and 2015, during which time Beijing made massive strides towards militarizing the area.
This decision came after the China-ASEAN Framework for the South China Sea's code of conduct was initiated. Echoing China's diplomatic line, Cayetano stressed that, "the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines is between China and the Philippines". "It's true in other places around the world, as well", Nauert said.
"And the point of that is to demonstrate that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows".
"China's own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys".
Experts and officials have criticized President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping.
China has refused to recognise a ruling by The Hague in 2016 that its historic "nine-dash line" claim to sovereignty over numerous islands is invalid, and is trying to reach its own settlement with rival claimants.