A Chinese submarine collided with an underwater sonar array towed by the destroyer USS John S. McCain off the coast of the Philippines, US-based CNN television reports, quoting a US official who said it was an "inadvertent encounter".
The array, used to locate underwater sounds, was damaged in the incident, but the military official said the sub and ship did not collide.
The US Navy did not consider the event a case of deliberate harassment, according to CNN.
In March this year four confrontations between US and Chinese vessels in the waters off China's coast triggered disputes between the two sides.
China said the U.S. ship violated international and Chinese laws by entering China's "exclusive economic zone" without authorization and urged the United States to take steps to avoid a repetition.