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TAIPEI, Taiwan – The US Navy has released a video of what it called an “unsafe interaction” in the Taiwan Strait, in which a Chinese warship crossed in front of a US destroyer in the sensitive waterway that separates democratically governed Taiwan from China.
The US military said the USS Chung-Hoon, a destroyer; and Canada’s HSMC Montreal, a frigate, were conducting a “routine” transit of the strait on Saturday, June 3, when the Chinese ship cut in front of the American one, coming within 150 yards (137 meters).
In the video, released by the US Navy late Sunday, a Chinese warship can clearly be seen sailing across the path of the Chung-Hoon in calm waters. The Chung-Hoon does not change course.
A voice can be heard in English, apparently sending a radio message to the Chinese ship, warning against “attempts to limit freedom of navigation”, though the exact wording is unclear because of wind noise.
China has not commented directly on the US criticism of the encounter, and its foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
On Saturday night, China’s military rebuked the United States and Canada for “deliberately provoking risk” with the rare joint sailing.
Taiwan’s defense ministry on Sunday called China’s actions “provocation” and said it was the common responsibility of free and democratic countries to maintain peace and stability in the strait.
“Any actions to increase tension and danger will not contribute to regional security,” it said in a statement.
The ministry called on China to respect the right to freedom of navigation.
China views Taiwan as its own territory, a claim the government in Taipei strongly rejects.
Beijing has been stepping up military and political pressure to try to force Taiwan to accept its sovereignty, including staging regular maneuvers near the island.
On May 26, a Chinese fighter jet carried out an “unnecessarily aggressive” maneuver near a US military plane over the South China Sea in international airspace, according to the United States. – Rappler.com