China Responds to US Provocations in South China Sea

It approached within 45 yards of the Decatur's bow forcing it to move Lt Cmdr Gorman said

According to an official statement released on Monday by Pacific Fleet Deputy Spokesman Commander Nate Christensen: "At approximately 0830 local time on September 30, a PRC LUYANG destroyer approached USS DECATUR in an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea".

But the Chinese ship turned towards the right as it came close to the Decatur, trying to cut across the USA ship's bow and forcing the U.S. captain to perform a "radical maneuver", essentially throwing the 500-foot-long, 8,500-ton warship into reverse, he said.

The Chinese navy's actions forced the Decatur to maneuver to avoid a collision, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet, Capt. Charlie Brown, said in a statement. The PRC destroyer approached within 45 yards of DECATUR's bow, after which DECATUR maneuvered to prevent a collision.

Two B-52s flew over the South China Sea last week in what the Pentagon called a routine mission.

The Decatur was conducting a freedom of navigation operation - a "FONOP" - near the Gaven and Johnson Reefs.

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China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea and has built islands on reefs and equipped them with military facilities such as airstrips, radar domes and missile systems.

Citing Trump's move to levy tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and threatening to "levy even more, with the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number", Pence said that "the American people deserve to know that, in response to the strong stand that President Trump has taken, Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President". "Our interests and the region's are inextricably intertwined".

Mattis this week acknowledged "tension points" between the US and China, but told reporters he did not "see it getting worse".

He will also argue that Chinese officials have tried to influence business leaders to condemn USA trade actions, "leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China".

The Pentagon says they are meant to enforce the right of free passage in worldwide waters.

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The islands are mostly uninhabited but are close to busy shipping lanes - lanes which the US has an interest in protecting.

The plan proposes sailing ships and flying jets near China's territorial waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait to show the "right to free navigation" in global waters.

Beijing, Oct 4 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit China on October 8 to hold talks with top Chinese leaders amid escalating tension between the world's two largest economies over trade and Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

During Pompeo's visit, China and the USA would exchange views on bilateral ties and regional and global issues of common concern, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.

The Chinese Defense Ministry claimed its ship merely gave the U.S. Navy vessel "a warning to leave" after it entered the area "without permission".

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"Australia has consistently expressed concern over ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea and we continue to urge all claimants to refrain from unilateral actions that would increase tension in the region".

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