US Navy condemns ‘unsafe interaction’ as Chinese warship crosses destroyer’s path

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS Chung-Hoon observes a Chinese navy ship conduct what it called an "unsafe” Chinese maneuver in the Taiwan Strait, Saturday, June 3, 2023, in which the Chinese navy ship cut sharply across the path of the American destroyer, forcing the U.S. ship to slow to avoid a collision. The incident occurred as the American destroyer and Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal were conducting a so-called “freedom of navigation” transit of the strait between Taiwan and mainland China. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre T. Richard/U.S. Navy via AP)

The US Navy has shared a video highlighting an “unsafe interaction” in the Taiwan Strait, as a Chinese warship crossed dangerously close to a US destroyer, raising concerns amid strained Sino-US relations. The incident occurred during a routine transit of the strait by the USS Chung-Hoon and Canada’s HSMC Montreal, with the Chinese vessel coming within 137 metres of the US ship. The video shows the Chinese warship crossing the path of the Chung-Hoon, which does not change course. A voice warns the Chinese ship against “attempts to limit freedom of navigation”, though the full message is unclear due to wind noise.

China has not directly addressed the US criticism of the encounter, and its foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment. On Saturday night, China’s military accused the US and Canada of “deliberately provoking risk” with their joint sailing. Chinese military commentator Song Zhongping stated that the “point blank interception” demonstrated the capabilities and “courage” of China’s navy. “The more intensified the provocation from the US, the stronger the countermeasures from China,” Song added.

This incident follows another recent encounter, where a Chinese fighter jet performed an “unnecessarily aggressive” manoeuvre near a US military plane over the South China Sea in international airspace. Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation, believes Beijing has instructed its forces to respond more assertively against perceived encroachments by US and allied forces. “By doing so, China is only increasing the chances for miscalculation – namely ships or aircraft accidentally colliding – that could then spiral into armed conflict,” he warned.

Taiwan Strait
FILE – In this image from a video provided by the U.S. Navy, a Chinese J-16 fighter flew aggressively close to a U.S. RC-135 aircraft flying in international airspace over the South China Sea on Friday, May 26, 2023. (U.S. Navy via AP, File)

In 2001, a US spy plane made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan island following a collision with a Chinese fighter jet, resulting in the death of the Chinese pilot. Taiwan’s defence ministry has labelled China’s actions with the US and Canadian ships as a “provocation” and emphasised the shared responsibility of free and democratic nations to maintain peace and stability in the strait. “Any actions to increase tension and danger will not contribute to regional security,” the ministry stated in a release, urging China to respect the right to freedom of navigation.

Related news

China considers Taiwan as part of its territory, a claim strongly rejected by the government in Taipei. Beijing has increased military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty, including conducting regular manoeuvres near the island, reports Channel News Asia.

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Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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