US Says 'Unsafe' Action by China Near American Ship In Taiwan Strait

  American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (FILE/Reuters)
American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (FILE/Reuters)
TT

US Says 'Unsafe' Action by China Near American Ship In Taiwan Strait

  American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (FILE/Reuters)
American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (FILE/Reuters)

A Chinese Navy ship maneuvered in an "unsafe manner" near an American destroyer transiting the Taiwan Strait, the US military said Saturday.

It is the second close encounter between American and Chinese military assets in less than 10 days, following what the US military said was an "unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" by one of Beijing's fighter's near one of Washington's surveillance planes last week.

The Chinese ship "executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon," an American destroyer, during the Saturday transit, the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) said in a statement.

Beijing's ship "overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 (knots) to avoid a collision," the statement said, AFP reported.

It then "crossed Chung-Hoon's bow a second time starboard to port at 2,000 yards (meters) and remained off Chung-Hoon's port bow," coming within 150 yards at the closest point, the US military said, adding that the "US military flies, sails, and operates safely and responsibly anywhere international law allows."

The incident occurred as the Chung-Hoon sailed through the Taiwan Strait with a Canadian warship in a joint mission through the sensitive waterway that separates self-ruled Taiwan from China.

The Chinese military said it had monitored the passage, but made no mention of a close encounter.

"The relevant countries are intentionally creating trouble in the Taiwan Strait, deliberately stirring up risks, and maliciously undermining regional peace and stability," said Senior Colonel Shi Yi, the spokesman of China's Eastern Theatre Command.

US warships frequently sail through the strait. The last joint US-Canada passage was in September 2022.

China claims Taiwan as its territory -- vowing to take it one day, by force if necessary -- and has in recent years ramped up military and political pressure on the island.

The Taiwan Strait ship encounter followed what the US military characterized as a risky maneuver by a Chinese jet that "flew directly in front of and within 400 feet of the nose" of an RC-135 surveillance plane on May 26 over the South China Sea.

Beijing blamed US "provocation," with a foreign ministry spokeswoman saying the "United States' long-term and frequent sending of ships and planes to conduct close surveillance on China seriously harms China's national sovereignty and security."



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
TT

NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.