Chinese People's Liberation Army navy fleet boarded a "merchant vessel" to check for contraband on Saturday (local time) during the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises off the Hawaiian Islands.
After receiving tips that a merchant ship - actually, a US naval cruiser - was carrying contraband, China's missile destroyer Haikou hailed the ship, moved closer, and sent two boats carrying seven marines at about 8:30 am Saturday local time.
The marines boarded the merchant ship, seized control of the pilothouse, and checked the cargo in the cabin.
On the same day, the Chinese missile frigate Yueyang and supply ship Qiandaohu participated in similar exercises together with naval forces from Mexico, Brunei and France.
It's the first time that the Chinese navy has participated in RIMPAC since the exercises began during the height of the Cold War in 1971.
Four Chinese navy ships, with a total 1,100 aboard, are participating in the military exercises, making China's navy the second-largest represented, trailing only the US, the host nation.
Besides Haikou, Yueyang and Qiandaohu, China's hospital ship Peace Ark is also participating.