The U.S. Navy on Saturday accused a Chinese ship of zigzagging "dangerously" around a U.S. destroyer in the Taiwan Strait, less than 10 days after an aerial incident between the two countries in the region. The Chinese ship "executed maneuvers in a dangerous manner near the Chung-Hoon," a U.S. destroyer that was sailing through the strait on Saturday, the U.S. command said in a statement.
The Chinese ship "passed the Chung-Hoon on port and crossed its bow at 150 meters. The Chung-Hoon maintained its course and slowed to 10 (knots) to avoid a collision," the statement said. It then "passed in front of the bow of the Chung-Hoon a second time from starboard to port at 2000 meters" and continued to sail alongside the American destroyer which it approached within 150 meters, adds the text.
The incident occurred while the USS Chung-Hoon, an Aegis destroyer part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was sailing with the Canadian ship HMCS Montreal through the 180-kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait that separates the autonomous island of the same name from mainland China.
See alsoU.S. and Canadian military ships cross the Taiwan Strait
The Chinese military said it monitored the passage of the two ships, but did not mention any incidents. "Relevant countries intentionally create unrest in the Taiwan Strait, deliberately stoke risks and maliciously undermine regional peace and stability," said Col. Shi Yi, spokesman for China's Eastern Command.
U.S. ships regularly pass through the Taiwan Strait, but they rarely do so accompanied by an allied ship. The last joint U.S.-Canadian passage dates back to September. These crossings irritate China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and claims to have sovereign rights over the strait.
See alsoWhy European navies are reluctant to cross the Taiwan Strait
Second incident in ten days
This is the second Sino-US incident in less than 10 days in the region. On May 26, a Chinese fighter jet pilot performed "an unwarranted aggressive maneuver" near a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying over the South China Sea, according to U.S. military personnel. From the point of view of a Chinese military spokesman, the US aircraft "deliberately burst in" into a China training area "to carry out reconnaissance (operations)".
In response, the US Department of Defense on Sunday denounced the "increasingly risky" actions of the Chinese military in Asia. "We continue to be concerned about the increasingly risky and coercive activities of the People's Liberation Army in the region, including in recent days," said Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, who is attending a security conference in Singapore with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.