The Chinese military is getting bolder in its provocations against the U.S. Less than a week after a Chinese fighter jet came dangerously close to an American spy plane over the South China Sea, the Pentagon reported that on Saturday, a Chinese warship had "an unsafe maritime interaction" with the American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal during a joint U.S.-Canadian transit of the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese ship passed 150 yards in front of the U.S. destroyer's bow, forcing the U.S. Navy vessel to engage in evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.
"During the transit, PLA(N) LUYANG III DDG 132 (PRC LY 132) executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon," a statement released by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said. "The PRC LY 132 overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 kts to avoid a collision," the statement continued.
A report by ZeroHedge, notes that the Chinese vessel then made a second pass in front of the USS Chung-Hoon at 2,000 yards occurred before the Chinese warship finally followed the U.S. destroyer off its port bow.
"The LY 132's closest point of approach was 150 yards and its actions violated maritime 'Rules of the Road' of safe passage in international waters," the statement concluded.
Journalists aboard the HMCS Montreal captured part of the incident on video as the Canadian vessel trailed behind the destroyer.
Meanwhile, both the U.S. and China are using the incident as an excuse to accuse the other of "bullying." Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday said, "We will support our allies and partners as they defend themselves against coercion and bullying."
"To be clear, we do not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will not flinch in the face of bullying or coercion," Lloyd added.
Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu defended the Chinese navy's actions telling top defense officials from around the world on Sunday, that "freedom of navigation" patrols are considered a provocation by China.
Gen. Li went on to say that China does not have an issue with "innocent passage" but that "we must prevent attempts that try to use those freedom of navigation (patrols), that innocent passage, to exercise hegemony of navigation."
Meanwhile, the Defense Minister encouraged both the U.S. and China to re-engage in talks, noting that a conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers would be an "unbearable disaster for the world."
The minister's remarks come amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing as China has increased its shows of force in the Taiwan Strait in recent months and the country's alignment with Russia in response to the war in Ukraine has further caused the deterioration of diplomatic ties between the two nations.