WASHINGTON, March 13 (UPI) -- Chinese naval officers are criticizing the Pentagon's decision to send a guided missile destroyer to the South China Sea to protect a U.S. surveillance vessel.
Officers of the People's Liberation Army call the move an "inappropriate reaction" to an incident that involved U.S. and Chinese ships, The China Daily reported Friday.
The USNS Impeccable was bottom mapping in international waters off Hainan Sunday when five Chinese vessels surrounded it and blocked its path with pieces of wood.
The incident prompted the Pentagon to divert the USS Chung-Hoon to the South China Sea to protect the Impeccable, The Washington Post reports.
"Chung-Hoon is there, in the area, keeping an eye on Impeccable, which continues lawful operations," a Pentagon official told the Post. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
A Chinese naval source, who declined to be identified, says the PLA has taken note of the latest U.S. move and is watching developments closely.