U.S. and Chinese warships narrowly avoid high-seas collision

The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur returns to its homeport Naval Base San Diego after completing a seven-month deployment Nov. 14 2016
‘Maneuvered to prevent collision’: Chinese destroyer chases USS Decatur in South China Sea

05 October, 2018

Chinese vessels have approached U.S. Navy ships during previous FONOPs in the South China Sea, but Sunday's encounter appears to the be the closest one yet.

Hua's declarations revalidate those of the Chinese Ministry of Defense that earlier spoke in similar terms on the new entry of a US military ship in China waters.

"The US has repeatedly sent warships into the territorial waters near Chinese reefs and islands in the South China Sea", it said.

A Chinese destroyer steered within 45 yards from an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer near the Spratly Islands this weekend in a confrontational maneuver that U.S. officials called "unsafe".

China expressed anger on Tuesday after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, saying it resolutely opposed an operation that it called a threat to its sovereignty. Tim Gorman, spokesperson for U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Decatur had been conducting what the American military calls freedom of navigation operations, or missions to promote global lawfulness in oceanic territory claimed by multiple countries, including Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

"At present, with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN nations, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized", ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Decatur had to maneuver to avoid a collision on Sunday after a Chinese warship came within 45 yards of its bow as the American ship transited a disputed island chain in the South China Sea on Sunday, U.S. defense officials said.

There was no immediate reaction from China, but a similar USA operation in July, involving the disputed Paracel islands, prompted a furious Beijing to deploy military vessels and fighter jets.

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"Our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows", Captain Brown said in a statement. It also denied a request by another USA warship, the USS Wasp, to make a port visit in Hong Kong. "Intra- and extra-regional powers, including the U.S., Japan, India and others, want to strongly signal to China that their outright rejection of worldwide law and assertive behavior in the South and East China seas will not go unchallenged by the global community".

Naval academics theorize the collisions that killed 16 United States sailors have the Chinese navy doubting U.S. seamanship skills and giving it confidence to "intimidate" USA ship captains, Schuster said.

The U.S. and China are trading blows yet again.

China has reportedly cancelled a security meeting later this month with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. had placed sanctions in 2017 on that exporter, Rosoboronexport, in response to Russia's interference in America's 2016 presidential election.

"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade".

Also last week China refused to port the USS Wasp in Hong Kong as another sign of the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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