China Says Navy Drove US Warship From South China Sea Reef

‘Maneuvered to prevent collision’: Chinese destroyer chases USS Decatur in South China Sea

‘Maneuvered to prevent collision’: Chinese destroyer chases USS Decatur in South China Sea

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyer the USS Decatur traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands on Sunday.

But according to the USA, the Chinese Luyang destroyer approached the Decatur in "an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver" that required evasive actions.

He said the Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the front of the U.S. ship, giving the ship's captain seconds to react to avoid a collision.

"US Navy ships and aircraft operate throughout the Indo-Pacific routinely, including in the South China Sea", said Brown.

"The PRC destroyer conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for DECATUR to depart the area", it added. China similarly denied a port call in 2016 by the USS John C. Stennis strike group after it had sailed through the South China Sea.

A trade war launched by Trump has infuriated Beijing, as did his authorization of a $1.3 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers a rebel province and which it claims as its own.

The showcase of US air power coincided with the integrated Defense of the Amphibious Task Force (DATF) drill held by the US Navy in the South China Sea on September 27.

In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said that its ship had "given a warning to leave" to the vessel after it entered the area "without permission".

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

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Beijing claims all of the remote island chain amid its vast territorial assertions throughout the South China Sea.

"China's military is resolutely opposed to this", it said.

China's Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement it strongly urged the United States to stop such "provocative" actions and to "immediately correct its mistakes".

Tuesday's statement, unusual in clearly announcing the run-in with the Chinese vessel, reaffirmed that the USA would not halt its operations in the area.

A USA defense official told The Japan Times on Sunday that the Decatur conducted the freedom of navigation operation under the right of "innocent passage".

The incident occurred amid growing tensions over tariffs and sanctions - and as the Decatur conducted a "freedom of navigation operation" in the disputed, strategic waterway, a Defense Department official told NBC News. The U.S. would "continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows", said Gorman, the Pacific Fleet spokesman.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

China has reportedly cancelled a security meeting later this month with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

China has canceled two high-level security meetings with usa defense officials in the past week as tensions between the U.S. and China rise.

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