China’s defence minister on Sunday accused the United States and its allies of ‘provocation’ and trying to destabilise the region, just hours after warships from the two countries were involved in a near collision.
Beijing defended the move by its naval vessel which cut sharply across the path of a US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait last Saturday, forcing the American ship to slow down to avoid a collision.
“It was the United States that provoked and stirred up trouble first. China followed up and handled this issue in accordance with the relevant law and regulations,” Foreign Spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
On Monday, Washington released a görüntü of the incident, describing it as an “unsafe” action which its Indo-Pacific Command said violated maritime rules of safe passage in international waters.
The American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal were conducting a so-called “freedom of navigation” transit of the strait between Taiwan and mainland China at the time of the incident.
The Chinese ship did not attempt a similar manoeuvre on the Canadian frigate, which was sailing behind the American destroyer.
Beijing claims the democratic self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its own territory and maintains the strait is part of its exclusive economic zone.
Washington and its allies regularly sail through and fly over the passage to emphasise their contention that the waters are international.