Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Beijing amid tension

05 October, 2018, 13:42 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Chinese warship comes within 45 yards of colliding with San Diego-based destroyer

US Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt Cmdr Tim Gorman said the Chinese warship approached the USS Decatur in an "unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre" on Sunday near Gaven Reefs in the South China Sea.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

Relations between the US and China have deteriorated over an escalating trade dispute.

Brown said the Chinese warship "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to depart the area". "Beijing is also trying to project its power farther than ever before", Mr. Pence will say, adding that "we will not be intimidated; we will not stand down".

USS Decatur had sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands when it was approached by the Chinese destroyer.

More details are emerging about the near collision between US and Chinese destroyers last Sunday morning in the South China Sea.

It confirmed a Chinese missile destroyer was immediately deployed to identify the American vessel and drive it away.

The resource-rich South China Sea is the subject of conflicting and overlapping claims by a number of countries, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.


The proposal, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and China, has yet to be approved. "It is a serious threat to the sovereignty and security of China, will damage seriously the relations between China, the United States and their armed forces, and gravely undermines peace and regional stability", said chinese authorities.

China's defence ministry did not immediately comment on the report, but a Chinese diplomatic observer said that by expanding its operations from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait the U.S. was escalating the confrontation.

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of uninhabited island of Spratlys in the disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017.

Sunday's near-collision comes after weeks of friction between Washington and Beijing over a range of issues.

During a meeting of the UN Security Council, President Donald Trump has accused China of interfering in American elections to help his Democratic rivals. The ministry gave no details, but based on previous visits by American secretaries of state, he would be likely to meet with China's foreign minister, senior foreign policy advisers and President Xi Jinping.

By expanding its area of operations to the Taiwan Strait, Su continued, the USA was linking the South China Sea and Taiwan and was prepared to confront China across a wider front.

Beijing called the flights "provocative", but Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted that the flights would not mean anything if China had not militarised the waterway.

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