China tensions rise over South China Sea warships

Maneuvered to prevent collision’ Chinese destroyer chases USS Decatur in South China Sea

A CHINESE warship sailed within metres of an American destroyer - forcing it to change course - in an "unsafe and unprofessional" encounter as the United States vessel was in contested waters in the South China Sea, an official said Monday.

BDN staff and wire reports •.

He added that the Chinese destroyer "approached within 45 yards (135 feet) of the Decatur's bow" of the front of the US ship, adding that the Decatur "maneuvered to prevent a collision".

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing said in a statement that it strongly urged the United States to stop such "provocative" actions, noting that the operation carried out by the USA warship was a "threat to its sovereignty".

The Chinese Foreign Ministry revalidated today the rejection to the illegal entry of a US ship in jurisdictional waters and emphasized it is a threat to peace and stability of the region.

Beijing, Oct 2 The US has accused a Chinese naval ship of conducting "unsafe and unprofessional" manoeuvres when one of its warships entered the waters of the disputed South China Sea.

Apart from China, Vietnam also lay claim on the Spratly Islands.

Last week, China announced it would not allow a large US warship to visit Hong Kong next month. The incident occurred on Sunday as the USS Decatur was sailing within 12 nautical miles of reefs in the Spratly Islands.

China has ignored the ruling, however, and the fortification of seven artificial islands it has built there has made Chinese control of those waters virtually a fait accompli.

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The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have territorial claims to the islands.

The Chinese military has also repeatedly issued warnings to U.S. and other foreign aircraft that approach its contested islands, many of which have been armed with missiles and other weapons systems.

The Luyang's maneuver against the Decatur is similar to a 2013 act of coercion against a USA cruiser in the South China Sea.

The United States has for years routinely patrolled the seas as part of what it calls "freedom of navigation operations".

Washington has said the aim is to reject what it considers excessive maritime claims by any country.

After the incident on September 30, the Chinese government abruptly canceled a high-level security dialogue planned for mid-October in Beijing.

The government scrapped the defense-related conversations in response to American sanctions imposed last month on Chinese military personnel for purchasing Russian combat aircraft and missile supplies.

In a sign of the increasing tensions, late last week US Secretary of Defense James Mattis pulled out of a planned visit to Beijing later in October, two US officials told CNN.

There was no immediate comments from China. Washington says it conducts these operations throughout the world, though Beijing remains sensitive about them and has at times labeled them "provocations".