China complains about U.S. plane straying into disputed airspace

(CNN) – China is once again complaining that the United States violated its sovereign territory by coming near artificial islands in the South China Sea.

This time the problem occurred when a U.S. military flight strayed into disputed airspace near the islands, a senior U.S. defense official told CNN.

The United States did not intend to get within 12 nautical miles of the land, the official said, and the flight was not part of a “freedom of navigation” mission like the one that occurred in late October.

In that operation, the United States sent a warship, the USS Lassen, close to one of China’s artificial islands.