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As I wrote earlier on Saturday, the U.S. is taking part in a summit this weekend, the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit in Singapore, with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in attendance, having as an aim to reaffirm alliances in the region, and (possibly) better one-one communication with Chinese officials over ongoing tensions there.
Austin addressed the conference about our nation’s concerns on how China’s military has been saber rattling—as recently as Tuesday, an incident with a Chinese fighter jet acting “unnecessarily aggressive” towards a U.S. reconaissance plane happened over the South China Sea.
Almost as if to highlight the purpose of the security meetings, another aggressive move came from the Chinese military against American and Canadian military vessels on Saturday.
Canadian news outlet Global News reported that its news crew witnessed the Chinese action first hand—they were on board one of Canada’s frigates, which was being escorted by an American military vessel (similar to the ship shown in the image at the top of this article). Global News shot exclusive video of the near-collision because of the Chinese ship’s reckless move in the South China Sea. The network spoke with the Canadian ship’s commander, Capt. Paul Mountford, as part of the report:
Global News has been travelling on HMCS Montreal, the Canadian frigate participating in the mission, since May 25 in the South China Sea and witnessed the near collision from the bridge wing of the ship. […]
A Chinese warship came within 150 yards of hitting American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon, during a rare joint Canada-U.S. mission sailing through the Taiwan Strait, the latest aggressive military move from Beijing in the South China Sea.
The report continued:
A People’s Liberation Navy ship picked up considerable speed and cut in front of the bow of the Chung-Hoon, a maneuver HMCS Montreal’s commander, Capt. Paul Mountford, called “not professional.”
When the Chinese vessel altered its course, Mountford says the crew called the American ship and told them to move or there would be a collision. The Americans responded by asking the Chinese to stay clear of the ship, but the Chung-Hoon ultimately needed to alter course and slow down to avoid a crash.
The near-crash was preceded by a radio announcement by the Chinese, claiming the U.S. ship was about to enter “Chinese territory”—something which Capt. Mountford fervently denied:
The Chinese told both the Canadian and American ships over radio systems that they are entering Chinese territory, despite the joint mission taking place in internationally recognized waters, according to Mountford.
As the Canadian captain told Global News, this situation was ”clearly instigated by the Chinese.” He explained:
“The fact this was announced over the radio prior to doing it, clearly indicated this was intentional.”
The warship didn’t try a similar move with the Canadian ship, but did shadow the vessel from “a 1,000 yards” away, as it continued to navigate through the waters.
You can watch Global News’ full report and the video of the near-collision below, courtesy of Global News:
The fact that there were two similar incidents in such a short span of time underlines the need for China to pick up the phone in case of emergency, so to speak. This is scary stuff.