A Chinese military expert is now criticizing the US government for ‘playing innocent’ after a US guided missile cruiser almost collided with a Chinese warship in what US officials described as a ‘highly unusual and deliberate act by China’.
The incident occurred on December 5 when an American warship, said to be in international waters, was approached by a Chinese Navy ship.
The smaller vessel peeled off from a group of Chinese Navy ships that included the carrier Liaoning.
The Chinese ship failed to stop, despite radio warning from the Cowpens that it was getting too close.
The Cowpens commanding officer then issued orders for an “all stop” when the other ship was less than 500 yards off its bow, a U.S. Navy official said.
“It is unusual to have to take evasive action at sea to avoid a collision,” a US official was quoted as saying.
The near-collision was the most significant Sino-US maritime confrontation on the South China Sea since 2009, Global Times reports. Chinese sources, however, claim that the incident was provoked and that the USS Cowpens was ‘harassing’ the Liaoning formation and took “offensive actions” towards it.
“Bad guys always claim innocence first,” a Chinese source that was familiar with this confrontation, told the Global Times on Sunday, adding that the American missile cruiser had entered within 45 kilometers of the inner defense layer of the Chinese fleet that day.
“The USS Cowpens was tailing after and harassing the Liaoning formation. It took offensive actions at first towards the Liaoning formation on the day of the confrontation,” said the source.
Chinanews.com claims that the US navy has ‘long been scouting’ around Chinese waters with the excuse of cruising on international waters.
CNN reported earlier this week that the Cowpens was in a position to conduct surveillance on the Liaoning, although this is not openly acknowledged by the US for sensitivity reasons.
[Image via Xinhua]