“A (Folks’s Republic of China) Luyang destroyer approached USS Decatur in an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver within the neighborhood of Gaven Reef within the South China Sea,” Capt. Charles Brown, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, informed CNN in an announcement confirming the incident.
Brown mentioned the Chinese language warship “performed a sequence of more and more aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to depart the world.”
He added that the Chinese language destroyer “approached inside 45 yards” of the entrance of the US ship, including that the Decatur “maneuvered to forestall a collision.”
“Our forces will proceed to fly, sail and function wherever worldwide regulation permits,” he mentioned.
This incident comes amid heightened US-China tensions over a broad vary of points. Chinese language ships typically shadow US vessels throughout freedom of navigation operations however these interactions are normally thought-about secure.
Whereas the Navy conducts such freedom of navigation operations all around the world, China is especially delicate concerning the operations after they come close to areas the place the Chinese language authorities has constructed islands and established navy services on disputed maritime options.
Mattis cancels journey to Beijing
In an indication of the rising tensions, late final week US Secretary of Protection James Mattis pulled out of a deliberate go to to Beijing later in October, two US officers informed CNN.
Mattis had initially deliberate to go to the Chinese language capital to satisfy with senior Chinese language officers to debate safety points. The last-minute cancellation of the unannounced journey has not been publicly confirmed by the Pentagon.
Tensions have been rising throughout a number of fronts, from the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese language items to new sanctions introduced in opposition to the Chinese language navy.
At a information convention final week, President Donald Trump mentioned his often-mentioned friendship with Chinese language chief Xi Jinping might have come to an finish.
“He will not be a buddy of mine anymore. However I believe he most likely respects me,” Trump mentioned.
Talking on the United Nations Safety Council final week Trump mentioned the Chinese language authorities was trying to intrude within the 2018 midterm elections to tilt them in opposition to the Republicans.
“They are not looking for me or us to win as a result of I’m the primary president ever to problem China on commerce,” Trump mentioned. “We’re successful on commerce. We’re successful at each stage. We do not need them to meddle or intrude in our upcoming election.”
Following the brand new spherical of tariffs, Beijing referred to as off deliberate commerce talks with Washington, leaving no finish in sight for the commerce warfare.
Correction: This text has been up to date to mirror that the “unsafe” interplay befell close to the Spratly Islands.
CNN’s Ben Westcott and Nicole Gaouette contributed reporting.