The bitter trade dispute between China and the US is increasingly spilling into the military domain, with a risky incident in the South China Sea highlighting the dangers of souring relations.
There are two countries that are right now provoking other nations. Russia has been doing a series of fighter jet flybys over British airspace, and China has been getting closer and closer to American military interests in the South Pacific. It is no coincidence that both Russia and China recently held the largest war games together in modern times.
FROM THE NAVY TIMES: The U.S. Pacific Fleet says a Navy warship had to dodge a Chinese destroyer during a Sunday morning incident in the South China Sea.
In a written statement emailed to Navy Times, Pacific Fleet officials say that a Luyang-class destroyer closed on the Decatur around 8:30 a.m. local time Sunday in “an unsafe and unprofessional” manner near Gaven Reef, making a series of “increasingly aggressive maneuvers” that were accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to leave the area.
The Chinese vessel came within 45 yards of the Decatur’s bow before the American warship veered off to prevent a collision, officials said.
“U.S. Navy ships and aircraft operate throughout the Indo-Pacific routinely, including in the South China Sea. As we have for decades, our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” added Cmdr. Nate Christensen, Deputy Spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Decatur had been conducting a freedom of navigation operation — a “FONOP” — about 12 nautical miles away from the Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands. “FONOPs are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements. However, FONOPs challenge excessive maritime claims and demonstrate our commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law,” Chistensen said. READ MORE