A Chinese warship threatened an American naval destroyer during a tense confrontation in the South China Sea at the end of September, according to new details of the meeting.
A Chinese People & # 39; s Liberation Army Navy Type 052C Luyang II-class destroyer challenged the US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer Decatur during a routine-freedom-of-navigation operation near the controversial Spratly Islands. The Chinese warship sailed within 45 meters of the American ship, almost collided with the American destroyer.
The Chinese ship "approached USS Decatur in an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver near Gaven Reef in the South China Sea", where it dealt with "a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for the departure of Decatur", a spokesperson from the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement. The Decatur was forced to change course to avoid a collision.
Read more:The Chinese army challenged an American destroyer for a confrontation with the South China Sea
A transcription of the radio exchange between the two naval vessels obtained by the South China Morning Post from the British Ministry of Defense shows that the Chinese ship threatened the Decatur and warned that it would "suffer consequences" if it did not move.
"It is your turn [sic] dangerous course, "warned the Chinese destroyer via the radio." If you do not change course, you are [sic] will have consequences. "
"We are carrying out an innocent passage," the Decatur reportedly replied.
In a video of the incident an unknown sailor can be heard who says that the Chinese ship "tries to push us out".
The video is a bit unclear, but ship fenders appear to have been deployed on the deck, Collin Koh, a research assistant at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, noted on Twitter. He explained that "mudguards are designed to reduce the kinetic impact of a collision," adding that the deployment was clearly an indication of preparedness for such a possibility.
Ankit Panda, expert in foreign policy, editor-in-chief at The Diplomat, called out the incident "the most direct and dangerous attempt by the PLAN to interfere with legal navigation by the US Navy in the South China Sea so far."
Read more: These incredible photos show how close a Chinese warship collided with an American destroyer during a tense impasse in the South China Sea
However, unsafe or unprofessional encounters between the US Navy and the Chinese Army are not uncommon. "We have found records of 19 unsafe and / or unprofessional interactions with China and Russia since 2016 (18 with China and one with Russia)," Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a US Pacific Fleet spokesperson, recently told CNN.
A number of these incidents involved dangerous Chinese interceptions of American naval aircraft. In August, the Chinese military sent six warnings to a reconnaissance aircraft from the US Navy P-8A Poseidon and warned to "leave and keep out immediately".
It is perhaps remarkable that the details of the confrontation between the American and Chinese warships in the South China Sea came from the British Ministry of Defense, as a British naval ship also found itself in a deadlock with the Chinese army in the South China. Sea not too long ago.
In early September, China sent a frigate to the British amphibious assault ship Albion of the British navy when it sailed too close to the Chinese outposts on the Paracel Islands. China called the incident a provocation and warned that it "would take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty and security".
The US Navy apparently expects such incidents to occur more frequently. The US and China "will meet each other more and more on the high seas," said Chief of US Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson Tuesday.