China has retracted an initial comment alledging U.S. harassment when a U.S. Navy warship encountered a Chinese air craft carrier in the South China Sea, saying everything is now ok.
In early December a Chinese ship was conducting routine patrol rounds when it very narrowly escaped coming into contact with the USS Cowpens. The Pentagon has released a statement which declares that the USS Cowpens had to revert to a stealth action in order to avoid a very near collision.
Initial reports that surfaced from the Chinese newspaper The Global Times had portrayed the U.S. Navy’s involvement as a form of international bullying occuring on their seas. The Global Times is a nationally run newspaper run out of Beijing.
Part of the tension contributing to this incident is over a dispute between China and other countries, including the U.S., who see China’s proposed appropriation of almost 1 million square miles of the China Sea as grossly inappropriate. The U.S. claims that this area is international and should be open to all types of traffic flowing through this district.
The USS Cowpens was closer than 30 miles from the Chinese boat. The Global Times reported that the US vessel was “tailing after and harassing” the Chinese ship and that the US Navy was “pos[ing] a threat to China’s military security.”
Since this statement was reported the China’s Defense Ministry has retracted this harassment comment over the encounter with the U.S. Navy’s USS Cowshep.
China released a statement which asserts that the Chinese ship handled all rules and regulations appropriately “in accordance with rules of operation.” China also added that some media reports speculating on the incident were not valid.
The incident occurred because of the dispute over this area of water located in the South China Sea. The U.S. carrier was operating as though this area of water was under international regulations while the Chinese were viewing this area as their own property.
The US Pacific fleet has since released a statement which asserts their right to lawfully operate in international waters. The US Pacific fleet also confirmed that they were forced to engage in a new course of direction in order to avoid a collision.
After the vessels were at a safe distance they did communicate. Some are calling this incident the most important naval incident to occur between the two countries since 2009.
Although tensions appear to have subsided for the time being the main issue still stands unresolved. China is still laying claim to large amounts of ocean in the South and East China Sea and the US, along with other countries, is still refusing to acknowledge this area as a Chinese waters. In a statement released by the US they did say that they are trying to stay out of this disagreement, unfortunately this chance meeting of two navy ships may have made that possibility a little bit less likely.
There has been no major fallout yet over this issue though as China has retracted an intial comment which said the US Navy was harassing their air craft carrier in the South China Sea.
By Nick Manai