BANGKOK (AP) — The US military released video Monday of what it described as an “unsafe” Chinese maneuver in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, in which a Chinese military ship passed at close range by ahead of an American destroyer, which was forced to slow down to avoid a collision.
The incident occurred on Saturday as the US destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal were on a so-called “freedom of navigation” voyage in the strait between Taiwan and mainland China.
China claims the self-governing and democratic island of Taiwan as part of its own territory and maintains that the strait is part of its exclusive economic zone, while the United States and its allies regularly navigate the area and fly over the passage to emphasize their position. that they are international waters.
During the incident on Saturday, the Chinese guided-missile destroyer passed Chung-Hoon to port and then crossed in front of her bow at a distance of about 137 meters (150 yards), according to the US Indo-Pacific Command. The US destroyer remained on course but slowed to 10 knots “to avoid a collision,” the military said.
Video released Monday showed the Chinese ship crossing the American’s course, before tacking to sail parallel.
The Indo-Pacific Command claimed that these actions violated maritime regulations for safe passage in international waters.
The Chinese ship did not attempt a similar maneuver with the Canadian frigate, which was sailing behind the American destroyer.
“The passage of the Chung-Hoon and the Montreal through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the joint commitment of the United States and Canada to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the Indo-Pacific Command said. “The US military flies, sails and operates safely and responsibly wherever international law allows.”
The United States recently accused China of yet another “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” in the air, saying a Chinese J-16 fighter had flown just ahead of a US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea last month. South China.
Those clashes have raised fears of a possible accident that could lead to an escalation between the armies of the two countries, at a time of already high tensions in the region.
The incident in the Taiwan Strait came the day before US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu were due to meet in Singapore for an annual defense conference.
Li hinted on Sunday that the United States and its allies had created the dangerous situation with their patrols and were determined to provoke China.
“The best thing is that the countries, especially the Navy ships and fighters of the countries, do not carry out approximation actions around the territories of other countries,” he said through an interpreter. “What is the point of going there? In China we always say, ‘Mind your own business‘.”
Austin had invited Li to speak on the sidelines of the conference. Li declined the proposal.