This aerial photo taken on Jan 2, 2017 shows a Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (center), during military drills in the South China Sea. (STR / AFP)
BEIJING - China's Ministry of National Defense Friday refuted false reports by Australian media that Chinese navy "challenged" Australian navy in the South China Sea earlier this month.
"Relevant reports by Australian media did not tally with the facts," said the ministry in a statement.
"Chinese navy warships encountered with Australian warships in the South China Sea on April 15. Chinese warships used professional language to communicate with the Australian side, and the operation by the Chinese warships was in accordance with laws and regulations, professional and safe," the statement said.