A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft flew over the waters between mainland China and Taiwan on Monday, drawing condemnation from China, which views the democratically governed island as part of its territory.

The Navy's 7th Fleet said in a statement that the plane "transited the Taiwan Strait in international airspace," adding, "By operating within the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law, the United States upholds the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations."

"The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait," it also said.

The Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army, the Chinese military, criticized the U.S. flyover, saying it "organized troops and tracked and monitored the whole flight, and it has everything under control," according the official China Daily.

Senior Col. Shi Yi, the command's spokesman, was quoted as saying in a statement that the incident "deliberately damaged the regional situation and jeopardized peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits."

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said the P-8A flew through the strait from north to south.

China has intensified military activities around Taiwan since then U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August over repeated warnings from Beijing against her doing so.

Chinese warplanes have frequently crossed into the Taiwan side of the median line drawn roughly in the middle of the strait, while also crossing into Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the island's southwest.

While no official agreement on the median line exists between Beijing and Taipei, China had long respected it so as to avoid unintended clashes, making it essentially a "borderline" between the two sides.

Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Party-ruled mainland China have been governed separately since a civil war ended in 1949 with the defeated Nationalists basing their Republic of China government on the island.