ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronCrossEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinShapeCreated with Sketch.Icon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
International Relations

US trades barbs with China after warships nearly collide

Chinese vessel's movements in South China Sea were 'unsafe': Navy official

The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur operating in the South China Sea in 2016.   © AP

WASHINGTON -- A Chinese warship sailed within 40 meters of a U.S. Navy vessel in the South China Sea on Sunday, in what the U.S. Pacific Fleet said was an "unsafe and unprofessional maneuver."

Charles Brown, a spokesman for the Hawaii-based fleet, said the Chinese Luyang destroyer approached the U.S. Decatur near the disputed Spratly islands in the water.

"The PRC destroyer conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for DECATUR to depart the area," he said by email, adding that the U.S. vessel maneuvered to avoid a collision.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. ship ventured into Chinese waters and its navy sent a destroyer to force it to leave.

"The U.S. has been repeatedly sending warships to the islands and the adjacent waters in the South China Sea, which has seriously threatened China's sovereignty and safety," ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.

The incident comes as tensions mount on multiple fronts between Washington and Beijing.

China on Tuesday canceled high-level security talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. And last week, Trump claimed that China was working to interfere in November's mid-term elections.

The two nations are also locked in an escalating trade war.

Trump has dangled the threat of an additional $267 billion worth of levies against Chinese goods, as he has previously said, but sent mixed messages about whether the U.S. was ready to go back to talks.

You have {{numberReadArticles}} FREE ARTICLE{{numberReadArticles-plural}} left this month

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Get unlimited access
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

{{sentenceStarter}} {{numberReadArticles}} free article{{numberReadArticles-plural}} this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most dynamic market in the world.

Benefit from in-depth journalism from trusted experts within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends September 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media