U.S., Chinese warships come dangerously close

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US China claim of air rights over disputed islands 'creates risk of incident'

(CNN) — A U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser took evasive action to avoid colliding with a Chinese warship in the South China Sea in what sources called a highly unusual and deliberate act by China, CNN has learned.

The incident last Friday, which was resolved peacefully, was the latest sign of tension around recent and aggressive Chinese territorial claims in the region involving international waters and expanded airspace.

Vice President Joe Biden last week pressed Beijing over the issue, which stems from a longstanding dispute with Japan that has grown tenser.

Several U.S. military officials confirmed details of the incident on the high seas involving the USS Cowpens, which has just come to light.

The American warship — which U.S. officials say was in international waters — was approached by a Chinese Navy ship. The smaller vessel peeled off from a group of Chinese Navy ships that included the carrier Liaoning.

The Chinese ship failed to stop, despite radio warning from the Cowpens that it was getting too close.

The Cowpens commanding officer then issued orders for an “all stop” when the other ship was less than 500 yards off its bow, a U.S. Navy official said.

The Chinese ship proceeded past the Cowpens.

“It is unusual to have to take evasive action at sea to avoid a collision,” the official added.

While naval vessels from different countries often come close as they observe each other, the United States sees this case as one that could have led to a collision because of the time and distance it takes for an American warship to stop.

“The Chinese knew what they were doing,” a second U.S. military official said.

During the encounter, bridge-to-bridge radio communications were maintained between the American and Chinese commanders.

“Communications were professional,” the second official said.

Though the United States will not acknowledge it openly, the Cowpens was inposition to conduct surveillance on the Liaoning, which would be a sensitive matter for the Chinese.

U.S. officials insist the Cowpens remained in international waters at all times.

During a visit to Beijing last week, Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping the United States had “deep concerns” over its newly declared East China Sea air defense zone and that Washington did not recognize it.

The Chinese action, Biden said in Japan before the Xi visit, raised the possibility of “accidents and miscalculation.”

The area in question includes uninhabited islands that have been the site of tense disputes between China and Japan, both of which claim the lands.

By Barbara Starr

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • rherboth57@gmail.com

    Better stock up, if we were to go to war with China, what would Walmart and the rest of us American’s do? Will be a severe shortage of almost everything, thanks to our Government putting putting us in this situation. But we must blame ourselves too, we aloud this to happen.

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Hey, again as usual, American warships encounter an enemy – in THEIR water! Note this was the “Sea of C H I N A” not the “Sea of America”. As usual, we are the ones spending BILLIONS and TRILLIONS to have military ready in all corners of the world, ready to defend the rich and privileged no matter where in the world they may fester like a disease. So if anything ever comes of this, it will be OBVIOUS except to the most brainwashed, tainted patriotic brain who started it. And as one other poster here said, if we go to China, who will build all our materialistic stuff for corporate America to sell us? Poster said our government got us into this? No, sir, American private CORPORATIONS got us into this. To save a buck so they can make more profits than if Americans build this stuff. Besides, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because if we ever DO get into a war with China they are going to KICK OUR BUTTS so bad we won’t know what hit us. We’ll soon find out just how inferior our military, with all its expensive wasteful toys, really is. How can we judge our military when the average enemy over the last 25 years has had about 5 warplanes and only huge rocks to hurl at us? If war with China starts, I give us about a week, then buying materialistic stuff from them will no longer be an issue – we’ll all be dead.

  • t

    If you liberals want more war and destruction from your War Mongering President then JOIN the Service and go fight for him

    Send Bye BYE too its people like him that blindly support War Mongering Presidents just because they say Democrat. How many innocents have been DRONED by Obama

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