Expert: none of 18 "unsafe" encounters between China and US warships occurs in US waters

China Military Online
Yao Jianing


By Guo Yuandan and Wang Huicong

The US Navy has had 18 unsafe or unprofessional encounters with Chinese military forces in the Pacific since 2016, reported by CNN on November 3 by quoting US military statistics.

Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, a researcher with the PLA Naval Research Institute, observed on November 4 that, these so-called "unsafe or unprofessional encounters" were all related to the unauthorized entry of the US warships into China’s territorial waters or into waters adjacent to Chinese islands and reefs. The US warships approached extremely close to China’s warships, resulting in close contacts between the two naval and air forces. The actions of the US side are the source of such air and sea accidents, according to Zhang.

"We have found records of 19 unsafe and/or unprofessional interactions with China and Russia since 2016 (18 with China and one with Russia)," Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet, told CNN.

CNN commented that the relative frequency of such interactions raises the possibility of a collision or clash that could spark a crisis or even a conflict between the two major powers. In 2001, a collision between a US surveillance plane and a Chinese jet fighter led to a major diplomatic crisis between Washington and Beijing. The most recent encounter with China took place last month. During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the US warship, forcing it to maneuver to avoid a collision.

Zhang said in the interview on November 4 that the US warships used so-called ‘freedom of navigation and overflight’ to arbitrarily enter China’s territorial waters or waters adjacent to Chinese islands and reefs to show off its force. These US warships provoked China at the doorstep of its home territory, while don’t allow Chinese warships to identify and verify them and warn them to leave. This is purely gangster logic!

None of these 18 so-called unsafe or unprofessional encounters has occurred at the US west coast or Hawaii’s sea and airspace. Instead, such encounters have occurred when the US warships entered China’s territorial waters or adjacent waters without authorization. The responsibility lies solely with the US side, said Zhang.

Zhang stressed that the PLA Navy has, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, reasonably identified and verified the US vessels that arbitrarily entered Chinese territorial waters or adjacent waters and warned them to leave.

The Chinese military’s handling of air and sea incidents is consistent with international laws and international practices. Repeated US provocations will only impel China’s military to strengthen its defense capability, Zhang added.

Disclaimer: The authors are Guo Yuandan and Wang Huicong, reporters with the Global Times. The article is translated from Chinese into English by China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the authors from the Global Times and do not reflect the views of does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.


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