BANGKOK (AP) — The U.S. military released video Monday of what it called an “unsafe” Chinese maneuver in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, in which a Chinese naval vessel aggressively cut a U.S. destroyer’s path, forcing the U.S. ship to depart. Slow down to avoid collision.
The incident occurred on Saturday when the US destroyer USS Chung-hoon and the Canadian warship HMCS Montreal were conducting a so-called “freedom of navigation” transit in the strait between Taiwan and mainland China.
China claims the democratically self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its own territory and maintains the strait as part of its exclusive economic zone, while the US and its allies regularly travel and fly over the route to press their case. are international.
During Saturday’s transit, the Chinese guided-missile destroyer overtook the Chung-Hun on its port side and then passed about 150 yards (137 meters) across its bow, the US Indo-Pacific Command said. The US destroyer maintained its course but reduced speed to 10 knots to “avoid a collision”, the military said.
Video released on Monday shows the Chinese ship cutting across the U.S. track, then starting to sail in a parallel direction.
The Indo-Pacific Command said these actions violated maritime rules in international waters.
The Chinese ship did not attempt a similar maneuver on the Canadian frigate, which was sailing behind the US destroyer.
“The transit of Chung-Hoon and Montreal through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the combined US-Canadian commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Indo-Pacific Command said. “The U.S. military flies, travels, and operates safely and responsibly wherever international law allows.”
The U.S. recently accused China of engaging in “unnecessary aggressive maneuvers” in the air, claiming that a Chinese J-16 fighter jet flew directly in front of the nose of a U.S. Air Force spy plane over the South China Sea late last month.
The close calls have raised concerns of a possible accident that could lead to an escalation between the two countries’ militaries at a time when tensions are already high in the region.
The Taiwan Strait incident happened on the same day as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister General Li Shangfu. were in Singapore for the annual security conference.
Li said on Sunday that the US and its allies had created a danger with their patrols and intended to provoke China.
“The best option is for countries, especially their naval ships and warplanes, not to conduct closing operations around the borders of other countries,” he said through a translator. “What’s the use of going there? In China we always say, ‘Mind your own business’.
Austin had invited Lee to speak on the sidelines of the conference; Li refused.