US officials tend to over-emphasize the "unsafe" operations of anyone confronting US warships, especially pushed when tensions are mounting, as the US-China tensions have been in recent weeks.
The USS Decatur was in the region conducting a so-called "freedom of navigation operation", which the US periodically undertakes as a display to China that Beijing's claim to sovereignty over the waters and islands in the area has not been internationally recognised.
"The US has been repeatedly sending warships to the islands and the adjacent waters in the South China Sea, which has seriously threatened China's sovereignty and safety", Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Tuesday.
The U.S. accused China's navy of "unsafe and unprofessional" conduct near a Chinese occupied reef in the disputed South China Sea, in the latest show of tensions between the countries amid their escalating trade war.
But according to the US, the Chinese Luyang destroyer approached the Decatur in "an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver" that required evasive actions.
The American USS Decatur had to change its course when Chinese Luyang destroyer came within 45 yards of USS Decatur. "The U.S. ship was identified and verified according to the law, and warned it and drove it away".
The United States has for years routinely patrolled the seas as part of what it calls "freedom of navigation operations".
China said the criticism was groundless and the pilot had kept a safe distance.
The US Navy on Tuesday said that a Chinese warship had sailed closed to American destroyer in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner in South China Sea.
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USA warships often maneuver in close formation, but their movements are closely coordinated, following standardized and procedures and principles, and the maneuvering ships rarely have less than 1,000 yards between them.
This incident comes in a context of relations are particularly strained between Washington and Beijing, embroiled in a trade dispute is playing with shots of customs duties punitive damages on billions of dollars of goods.
However, Beijing demands that foreign naval vessels seek its permission before transiting Chinese territorial waters.
"Our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows", Captain Brown said in a statement.
Picture courtesy of the US Navy.
China has canceled two high-level security meetings with U.S. defense officials in the past week as tensions between the usa and China rise. Since then, China has engaged in numerous unsafe incidents against us surveillance planes, while generally downplaying the danger they posed afterwards.
Just a few days before the near collision of two destroyers, and just after the US Air Force flew multiple strategic bombers overhead, Chinese warplanes conducted live-fire exercises between the rocky outcrops.
"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade".
Also last week, China refused a port of call in Hong Kong to the U.S. Navy ship USS Wasp slated for October and pulled a top admiral from a scheduled meeting with his U.S. Navy counterpart.