SEVERE WX : Excessive Heat Watch - Heat Advisory View Alerts

Chinese warship in 'unsafe' encounter with US destroyer, amid rising US-China tensions

A US Navy ship had an "unsafe" interaction with a Chinese warship Sunday while the US vessel was conducting ...

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 10:59 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 10:59 AM

A US Navy ship had an "unsafe" interaction with a Chinese warship Sunday while the US vessel was conducting a freedom of navigation operation near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, causing the US ship to maneuver "to prevent a collision," according to US defense officials.

"A (People's Republic of China) Luyang destroyer approached USS Decatur in an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea," Capt. Charles Brown, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, told CNN in a statement confirming the incident.

Asia

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

China

Continents and regions

East Asia

Marine transportation

Marine vessels

Military

Military vessels

North America

The Americas

Transportation and warehousing

United States

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

International trade

Political Figures - US

Trade and development

US federal government

White House

Environment and natural resources

Government organizations - US

Islands and reefs

Landforms and ecosystems

US Department of Defense

US federal departments and agencies

US Navy

Brown said the Chinese warship "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to depart the area."

He added that the Chinese destroyer "approached within 45 yards" of the front of the US ship, adding that the Decatur "maneuvered to prevent a collision."

"Our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," he said.

The close encounter would give the ship's captains just seconds to react to any course change, said Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain who spent 12 years at sea.

"This was very dangerous. Captains get very nervous when ships get closer than 1,000 yards," said Schuster, now a Hawaii Pacific University professor.

Minute rudder and engine speed corrections are needed to keep ships separated and even a slight miscalculation can result in a collision, he said.

This incident comes amid heightened US-China tensions over a broad range of issues. Chinese ships often shadow US vessels during freedom of navigation operations but those interactions are usually considered safe.

CNN reported Sunday the USS Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls freedom of navigation operations, which are meant to enforce the right of free passage in international waters.

While the US Navy conducts such freedom of navigation operations all over the world, China is particularly sensitive about the operations when they come near areas where the Chinese government has built islands and established military facilities on disputed maritime features.

"The US 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," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Tuesday.

"The Chinese military will resolutely perform its defense duties and continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard our sovereignty and the regional peace and stability," Wu said.

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

Naval academics theorize the collisions that killed 16 US sailors have the Chinese navy doubting US seamanship skills and giving it confidence to "intimidate" US ship captains, Schuster said.

Mattis cancels trip to Beijing

In a sign of the increasing tensions, late last week US Secretary of Defense James Mattis pulled out of a planned visit to Beijing later in October, two US officials told CNN.

Mattis had originally planned to visit the Chinese capital to meet with senior Chinese officials to discuss security issues. The last-minute cancellation of the unannounced trip has not been publicly confirmed by the Pentagon.

Tensions have been growing across multiple fronts, from the Trump administration's tariffs on Chinese goods to new sanctions announced against the Chinese military.

At a news conference last week, President Donald Trump said his often-mentioned friendship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping may have come to an end.

"He may not be a friend of mine anymore. But I think he probably respects me," Trump said.

Those comments came after Trump accused China of meddling in the upcoming US elections.

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council last week Trump said the Chinese government was attempting to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections to tilt them against the Republicans.

"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade," Trump said. "We are winning on trade. We are winning at every level. We don't want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming election."

The Trump administration imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods on September 24, in addition to the trade measures already in place. The Chinese government responded in kind, with 5% to 10% tariffs on $60 billion in US goods.

Following the new round of tariffs, Beijing called off planned trade talks with Washington, leaving no end in sight for the trade war.

"How could you negotiate with someone when he puts a knife on your neck?" Chinese deputy trade negotiator Wang Shouwen said at a news conference last Tuesday, saying that resuming the talks would be difficult.

In another sign of the growing tensions, the Chinese government canceled a port visit to Hong Kong by the USS Wasp, a US Navy amphibious assault ship, last week.

It followed closely the decision by the US government to sanction Chinese military figures over their purchases of Russian combat aircraft and missile systems.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the "unsafe" interaction took place near the Spratly Islands.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 609810

Reported Deaths: 7746
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1263481799
Ramsey53049910
Dakota47251475
Anoka43239465
Washington27676296
Stearns22670227
St. Louis18260319
Scott17701139
Wright16528153
Olmsted13517103
Sherburne1213096
Carver1074649
Clay829692
Rice8252111
Blue Earth770744
Crow Wing688599
Kandiyohi670085
Chisago627054
Otter Tail590687
Benton585398
Goodhue485674
Douglas478481
Mower477633
Winona463752
Itasca462768
Isanti446066
McLeod434361
Morrison427962
Beltrami410263
Nobles410050
Steele400819
Polk390872
Becker389357
Lyon365254
Carlton356958
Freeborn351134
Pine337623
Nicollet334245
Mille Lacs314956
Brown308840
Le Sueur299727
Cass288233
Todd288233
Meeker266044
Waseca240823
Martin237033
Roseau212421
Wabasha20843
Hubbard198041
Dodge18973
Renville183446
Redwood178141
Houston175516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165023
Fillmore159210
Faribault156920
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec147828
Sibley147310
Aitkin139237
Watonwan13619
Rock129019
Jackson123112
Pipestone117126
Yellow Medicine115320
Pope11396
Swift107518
Murray107410
Koochiching96819
Stevens92611
Clearwater89217
Marshall88817
Lake84520
Wilkin83813
Lac qui Parle76122
Big Stone6094
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49122
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4037
Traverse3825
Lake of the Woods3484
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 374664

Reported Deaths: 6109
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58891646
Linn21448342
Scott20426250
Black Hawk16680319
Woodbury15319230
Johnson1473686
Dubuque13595213
Dallas1144099
Pottawattamie11307177
Story1082848
Warren592092
Clinton564393
Cerro Gordo562297
Webster538996
Sioux519174
Muscatine4920106
Marshall491479
Des Moines478275
Jasper452073
Wapello4366123
Buena Vista431040
Plymouth404982
Lee392658
Marion369177
Jones301257
Henry301037
Bremer292763
Carroll286252
Boone271234
Crawford270841
Benton262755
Washington259851
Dickinson250745
Mahaska232551
Jackson225842
Kossuth219166
Clay217327
Tama213372
Delaware211743
Winneshiek200636
Buchanan196734
Page195422
Cedar192923
Hardin191144
Wright189140
Fayette188243
Hamilton186851
Harrison181973
Clayton173057
Butler167835
Madison167719
Floyd164642
Mills163824
Cherokee161538
Lyon160941
Poweshiek159036
Allamakee155552
Hancock153134
Iowa148324
Winnebago145731
Calhoun143113
Cass140855
Grundy139333
Emmet136741
Jefferson134535
Sac132620
Shelby131838
Louisa130249
Union129535
Appanoose128049
Franklin127823
Mitchell127243
Chickasaw125717
Guthrie124532
Humboldt124526
Palo Alto114924
Montgomery106738
Howard105322
Clarke102424
Monroe100633
Keokuk99932
Ida92735
Adair89632
Davis86825
Pocahontas86822
Monona85931
Greene79111
Osceola79017
Lucas77423
Worth7568
Taylor67112
Decatur6629
Fremont64810
Ringgold56824
Van Buren56718
Wayne56323
Audubon52913
Adams3494
Unassigned90
Rochester
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 82°
Mason City
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 95°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 98°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 91°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 93°
Staying hot through mid-week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events