WASHINGTON – United States of America (US) accuses Navy ships China conducted “unsafe” maneuvers near an American destroyer transiting through the sensitive Taiwan Strait. This is the latest condemnation by the US of China’s military.
The incident on Saturday (3/6/2023) was the second close encounter between the US and Chinese militaries in the Asia Pacific region in less than 10 days.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said the Chinese ship maneuvered in an unsafe manner around the Chung-Hoon, an American destroyer, during transit.
“The Chinese ships overtook Chung-Hoon on her port side and crossed their bows at 150 yards (137 meters). Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 (knots) to avoid a collision,” the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
“It then crossed the bow of Chung-Hoon a second time from starboard into port at 2,000 yards (1,828 meters) and remained in the bow of Chung-Hoon harbor, coming within 150 yards of its closest point,” the statement continued.
It added that the US military flies, sails and operates safely and responsibly anywhere international law allows.
The incident occurred as Chung-Hoon was sailing through the Taiwan Strait on a Canadian warship on a rare joint mission through the narrow waterway separating self-ruled Taiwan from China.
China’s military said it was monitoring the passage but made no mention of close encounters.
“Concerned countries deliberately created incidents in the Taiwan Strait area, deliberately provoked risks, maliciously undermined regional peace and stability, and sent wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” said a Chinese military statement.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the two ships sailed north through the strait and saw nothing unusual. US warships frequently sail through the strait. The last joint US-Canada trajectory occurred in September 2022.