Experts have said the near-miss between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship operating near China's only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was the most significant US-China maritime incident in the disputed South China Sea since 2009.
China's Defence Ministry said its vessel was conducting "normal patrols" when the two vessels "met".
But China's official news agency Xinhua accused the US ship of deliberately provocative behaviour during the incident, which occurred on December 5. The incident came at a time of heightened tension in the region following Beijing's declaration of an air-defence identification zone further north in the East China Sea, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo and Seoul.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said maritime disputes should be resolved peacefully.