Chinese PLA Navy destroyer in near collision with US and Canadian warship forces Western warships to alter course reports suggest
A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy destroyer was in a near collision with Western naval vessels in the Taiwan Strait, Saturday. A move described by Chinese officials as “provocative.”
“The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and the Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montréal made a transit through the Taiwan Straits on Saturday.” Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesperson at the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement late on Saturday.
“The PLA Eastern Theater Command organised naval and aerial forces, tracked and monitored them through the whole course, and handled the situation in accordance with law and regulations.” The Chinese military spokesman added.
The United States condemned the Chinese for the near collision.
A People’s Republic of China warship, identified by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as PRC LY 132, crosses the path of U.S. Navy destroyer USS Chung-Hoon as it was transiting the Taiwan Strait with the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Montreal June 3, 2023, in a still image from video. Global News via REUTERS
“In accordance with international law, USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and HMCS (His Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Montreal (FFH 336) conducted a routine south to north Taiwan Strait transit June 3 through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply. During the transit, PLA(N) (People’s Liberation Army Navy) LUYANG III DDG 132 (PRC LY 132) executed manoeuvres in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon,” the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
Reports from both sides indicate that the naval vessels altered course to avoid a collision after coming close to 150 yards (137 metres).
U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon sails alongside the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Montreal during Surface Action Group operations as a part of exercise “Noble Wolverine” in the South China Sea May 30, 2023. U.S. Navy/Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 1st Class Dalton Cooper/Handout
US officials said they believe that the harassment is coordinated and increasing in frequency.
A Chinese fighter jet crossed the path of an American reconnaissance plane in late May as it flew in international airspace, above the South China Sea, forcing the American plane to fly through the Chinese aircraft’s wake.
A People’s Republic of China J-16 fighter pilot performs a maneuver during the intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft over the South China Sea, May 26, 2023. USAF
In an address to a host of global defence officials at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, General Li Shangfu said Beijing was unconcerned by what he called “innocent passage” but that it must “prevent attempts that try to use the freedom of navigation [patrols], that innocent passage, to exercise hegemony of navigation.”
Speaking at the same conference in Singapore on Saturday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Washington would not “flinch in the face of bullying or coercion,” and that it would continue to maintain a presence in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea – countering China’s territorial claims by underscoring that the areas which were the source of Saturday’s dispute are international waters.
Li, however, insisted that the US and its allies were responsible for an increase in tensions in the region and advised Washington to take “good care of your own territorial airspace and waters.” He added: “In China we always say, ‘Mind your own business.’”
In what was his first international address since becoming China’s defense minister in March, Li also emphasized Beijing’s position on Taiwan, calling it the “core of our core interests” and said it would never hesitate to “defend our legitimate rights and interests.”
He also said that conflict with the United States would be an “unbearable disaster” for the global economy but that his country sought dialogue over confrontation.
Beijing has previously expressed frustration at what it sees as Washington meddling in its affairs, particularly as it pertains to Taiwan – disputed territory over which China claims sovereignty as part of its ‘One China’ policy.
The United States diplomatically recognises China’s territorial rights to Taiwan but Beijing has objected to Washington providing Taipei with defence training and conducting diplomatic meetings with Taiwan’s leadership.
Source Reuters/GT/RT/DefenceNews/Global News