Washington: The US has accused Beijing of “unsafe” manoeuvres after a Chinese warship allegedly cut in front of an American vessel that was taking part in a joint exercise with the Canadian navy in the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese warship’s move forced the American vessel to slow down to avoid a collision, CNN reported.
In a statement on Sunday, the US Indo-Pacific Command said that the Chinese destroyer had cut across the bow of the USS Chung-Hoon during the joint exercise between American and Canadian navy vessels in the Taiwan Strait.
According to the US, the Chinese ship came within 150 yards of the USS Chung-Hoon.
“Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 knots to avoid a collision,” the US statement said.
The Chinese ship acted in an “unsafe manner” and “violated the maritime ‘rules of the road’ of safe passage in international waters”, it said.
Canadian commander, Capt. Paul Mountford, called the action of the Chinese ship “not professional”, while a senior US defence official said: “Actions speak louder than words, and the dangerous behaviour we’ve seen from the PLA around the strait, in the South and East China Seas, and beyond really says it all.”
In a statement later Sunday, a spokesperson for the China’s People Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said its forces “handled the situation based on laws and regulations”.
“Relevant countries are deliberately stirring up trouble and risks in the Taiwan Strait, maliciously undermining regional peace and stability and sending wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” CNN quoted PLA Senior Colonel Shi Yi as saying.
The incident is the second time in two weeks that Chinese military personnel have engaged in aggressive manoeuvres in the vicinity of US military personnel near China’s border.
Last week, a Chinese fighter jet conducted an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” during an intercept of a US spy plane in international airspace over the South China Sea last week.