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U.S. warship sails near disputed South China Sea reef

 The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble departs Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled underway, San Diego, California, in 2016.
The USS Preble departs Naval Base San Diego in California in 2013. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within 12 miles of the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, claimed by the Chinese government, Monday, Reuters first reported.

Details: A spokesman for the Navy's Seventh Fleet said the USS Preble sailed to the uninhabited reef that's 120 miles west of the Philippines and claimed by the Philippine and Chinese governments to "challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law," according to ABC News.

Why it matters: Disputed South China Sea territories are among several flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship. The action comes as trade talks between the 2 countries continue to stall. Market analysts at both Morgan Stanley and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch have predicted a prolonged trade war could lead to an outright global recession.