The Pentagon released video on Monday of what it called an “unsafe” interaction in the Taiwan Strait by a Chinese destroyer.
According to the U.S. Navy, the incident depicted in the video took place on June 3. The Navy describes an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer called the USS Chung-Hoon observing as the Chinese ship executes “maneuvers in an unsafe manner while conducting a routine south to north Taiwan Strait transit alongside the Halifax-class [Canadian] frigate HMCS Montreal.”
The Chung-Hoon is on routine deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy said.
According to Indo-Pacific Command, during the transit on Saturday, the Chinese destroyer overtook the Chung-Hoon on its port side and then veered across its bow at a distance of some 150 yards. The Chung-Hoon held its course but did reduce its speed about 10 knots in order to “avoid a collision.”
The incident occurred just a few days after Indo-Pacific Command released video of a Chinese fighter jet on May 26 flying “directly in front of the nose” of a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, orcing the American pilot into its turbulent wake
U.S. Defense officials have asserted that China’s military has become increasingly aggressive over the past five years. And those already heightened U.S.-Chinese tensions were only made worse in recent months after the Pentagon in February shot down what it says was a Chinese surveillance balloon over South Carolinian waters after it had crossed the continental U.S.
Tensions have been further aggravated by China’s saber-rattling against its self-governing neighbor, Taiwan. The U.S. has suspected for some time that China is planning to invade Taiwan, though it has been watching and waiting to see how Russia fairs in its invasion of Ukraine before going forth with an assault against the island nation, just one hundred miles off China’s coast.
For decades China has challenged military aircraft from the U.S. and its allies, especially over the strategically vital South China Sea, of which China claims it has sole possession and deeply resents U.S. military assets in the region.
Defending the maneuver in the Taiwan Strait, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said it was enacted “in accordance with the law.”
“China’s military actions are completely justified, lawful, safe and professional,” Wang told reporters in Beijing. “It is the U.S. that should deeply reflect upon itself and correct the wrongdoings.”
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command asserted, “The U.S. military flies, sails, and operates safely and responsibly anywhere international law allows,” adding that the U.S. and Canadian vessels’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates both Western countries’ “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”