A Chinese warship reportedly came within 150 yards of hitting the USS Chung-Hoon on Saturday while the U.S. destroyer was conducting joint exercises with Canada in the Taiwan Strait.
The incident occurred as U.S.-Chinese tensions remain high in the South China Sea.
The Chinese ship sped up and cut in front of USS Chung-Hoon’s bow, warning the U.S. ship that there would be a collision if it didn’t alter course, Canada’s Global News — whose reporters witnessed the near-miss from the HMCS Montreal — reported.
The U.S. told the Chinese ship to stay away from the destroyer and at the last moment the Chinese altered course.
The Chung-Hoon was also reportedly forced to slow down and alter course over the close call.
HMCS Montreal Commander Paul Mountford called the incident “not professional” on the part of the Chinese, saying it was “clearly instigated by the Chinese,” according to Global News.
“The fact this was announced over the radio prior to doing it, clearly indicated this was intentional,” he added.
He continued, “I am hoping that is an isolated incident that won’t happen again for us, because we have international law on our side. This is international waters.”
The Chinese had warned the U.S. and Canadian ships they were in Chinese territorial waters, despite the strait being recognized as international waters, Mountford said.
Chinese vessels had been shadowing the joint U.S.-Canadian exercises for the last week before they entered the Taiwan Strait, the outlet reported.
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said, “Canada will continue to sail where international law allows, including the Strait, the South China Sea,” according to Global News.
She added, “Our overall goal is to increase the peace and stability of this region. And that’s why we are going to continue to see more of Canada in this region as set out in our Indo-Pacific strategy. We’ve already seen unsafe intercepts, and we have addressed those appropriately with China in terms of our RCAF pilots. Actors in this region must engage responsibly, and that’s the bottom line.”
Late last month, the Chinese government threatened “serious consequences” against the U.S. after it sailed through the contested Paracel Islands, which it claims sovereignty over.
And it also disregarded Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and by deploying a research ship along with five escort vessels last month to an area where a Russian state firm jointly operates a gas block with Hanoi in the energy rich South China Sea.
Fox News has reached out to the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
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