Five unsafe close encounters between the United States and Chinese militaries

A Chinese warship had an "unsafe and unprofessional" interaction with an American destroyer in the South China Sea, according to United States defence officials. A Chinese navy vessel carried out identification and verification procedures of the USS Decatur in accordance with law and warned it, Wu Qian, spokesperson with the Ministry of National Defence said in a statement.

Captain Brown said in the statement that the PLAN vessel "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to depart the area".

One official said the Chinese destroyer came as close as 45 feet to the USS Decatur.

The Chinese Defence ministry said Tuesday it opposes the USA warship's entry into the waters "around China's islands and reefs".

Global law permits foreign warships to transit a country's territorial waters on the basis of innocent passage without seeking prior permission, and the Chinese Navy has exercised that right off Alaska, among other locations.

As media reports in recent days have given accounts that the USA is stepping up operations in the South China Sea, Beijing appears to be responding, according to the Pentagon.

China expressed anger at the U.S operation, calling it a threat to its sovereignty.

BEIJING-The United States and China traded new accusations over naval operations in the South China Sea on Tuesday after warships from each country came perilously close to colliding in the disputed waters.

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The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it strongly urged the stop its "provocative" actions.

The U.S. regularly conducts FONOPS, or freedom of navigation operations, in disputed seas around the world to challenge "excessive" maritime claims.

Beijing last month also refused a USA warship entry to Hong Kong, and its top naval officer canceled a high-level meeting with his US counterpart.

A Chinese fighter flew low over a US P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine and reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, at one point flying 9 metres from one of its wing tips before doing a "barrel roll" rotation over the top of it, Pentagon officials said. Such operations need to be within 12 nautical miles of an island or territory to constitute a challenge under global law.

"China's military is resolutely opposed to this", it said. Worldwide law says states can claim territorial seas up to a limit of 12 nautical miles but the U.S. sails within that distance to show that it does not recognise China's claims.

Beijing said the USA had no right to interfere in Chinese military co-operation with Russian Federation.

Last week, the Pentagon said the B-52s had transited over the South China Sea as part of "regularly scheduled operations created to enhance our interoperability with our partners and allies in the region".

Though U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down recent disputes with China, a senior defense official told Fox News on Monday that Mattis would not be going to China, as had been previously planned.

  • Sonia Alvarado