Navy ship built at Bath Iron Works almost struck by Chinese warship

Hugh Fox
October 5, 2018

The Chinese defence ministry says it opposes the U.S. warship's entry into the waters "around China's islands and reefs".

The USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer was conducting what the military calls a "freedom of navigation operation" Sunday, when it passed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the remote Spratly Islands.

The U.S. military on October 1 revealed that during the FONOP, China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warship, came within 45 yards (40 meters) of the Decatur, and that the U.S. Navy destroyer had to alter course to avoid colliding with the Chinese vessel.

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

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The USS Decatur, a guided-missile destroyer, was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in in the South China Sea, a us defense official told Fox News in a statement. The official said all USA military operations in the area "are designed in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows".

Schuster said China seems to be adopting "a more aggressive response policy" to U.S. ships, emboldened in part by last year's collisions between United States destroyers and merchant ships in the Asia-Pacific.

A Chinese destroyer came aggressively close to a U.S. Navy ship in the South China Sea, forcing it to maneuver to prevent a collision, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2016, describing an encounter that could worsen tensions between the nations. A USA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mattis was no longer going to China. Chinese ships often shadow USA vessels during freedom of navigation operations but those interactions are usually considered safe.

Gorman said that the US would "continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows". Since then, China has engaged in numerous unsafe incidents against us surveillance planes, while generally downplaying the danger they posed afterwards.

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The risky incident comes as China and United States are engaged in an increasingly bitter trade war involving punitive tariffs on other's products.

The unsafe and aggressive manoeuvres by the United States and Chinese ships took place amid the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Last week, China abruptly canceled an annual security meeting planned for this month with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Beijing, not long after calling off trade talks in Washington.

There was no immediate comments from China. "We are winning on trade".

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Also last week China refused to port the USS Wasp in Hong Kong as another sign of the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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