We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Maritime analysts are now concerned these incidents may ignite a wider conflict that could spiral out of control. A Chinese military insider told the South China Morning Post both Washington and Beijing need to find ways to resolve such issues. Referring to the moment when two rival ships came within 100 metres of each other he said: “That kind of incident indicates a lack of political trust between the two militaries.”
The man wished to remain anonymous when speaking about such a sensitive matter.
He did not reveal the area where the incident happened, but just said it was in the disputed region of the South China Sea.
Both nations now have the biggest ships of their fleets in the region.
The US has two of its aircraft carriers patrolling the area.
China has deployed its two aircraft carriers.
The US vessels are the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz
The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s aircraft carriers are called the Liaoning and the Shandong.
Although both sides have to date remain largely professional and each close encounter could be seen as a show of strength, analysts fear an accident may take place.
READ MORE: South China Sea crisis – US sends drones over disputed waters
There was is the risk of a miscalculation where one ship could collide with another leading to an escalation into military conflict.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post about the latest close encounter between ships Hu Bo, director of the Centre for Maritime Strategy Studies at Peking University, said: “This kind of provocative behaviour was totally driven by political needs aimed at showing force and demonstrating strength.
“But, that can become an accident and lead to a small-scale and controllable conflict with their Chinese counterparts.
“However, how can you predict and control the consequences of a war?”
China warning: NATO issues alert over Beijing’s ‘threat’ [WARNING]
West has ‘moral responsibility’ to stand up to China claims activist [CONFLICT]
China plot: Satellite images catch Beijing carrying out worrying move [REVEAL]
Now Lu Li-Shih, formerly of the naval academy in Taiwan, said both China and the US should take responsibility for their actions in the South China Sea.
Lu said: “All naval ships should implement a naval code for unplanned encounters at sea to avoid conflict.
He urged that Chinese and US naval officers should have the training to make sure the encounters do not take place.
He added: “Warships should only be within 100 metres for refueling or training.
“Such a risky move happens when both sides do it deliberately.”
The US call its deployment of vessels in the South China Sea its freedom of navigation operation.
The US Navy conducted freedom of navigation operation through the Spratly Island chain near Gaven Reef in the South China Sea in April at the time of the near-collision.
A statement from the US 7th Fleet read: “Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships.
“This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law by challenging the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.”
Source: Read Full Article