News / Asia

US, China Raise Tensions Over Maritime Issues

US, China Raise Tensions Over Maritime Issuesi
X
December 20, 2013 12:36 AM
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calls China's actions in a near-collision in the South China Sea irresponsible. He also warned that such incidents could aggravate tensions in the region. As VOA's Kent Klein reports, this latest episode could test the increased U.S. emphasis on Asia.
Kent Klein
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calls China's actions in a near-collision in the South China Sea irresponsible. He also warned that such incidents could aggravate tensions in the region. This latest episode could test the increased U.S. emphasis on Asia.

The crew of the USS Cowpens was observing the Chinese carrier Liaoning on December 5, and Secretary of Defense Hagel says that's when another Chinese vessel cut across the bow.  

"That action by the Chinese, cutting in front of, their ship, 100 yards in front of the Cowpens was not a responsible action. It was unhelpful, it was irresponsible," said Hagel.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman downplayed the incident.

"China has always respected normal naval and air passage and freedom of navigation, which is in line with international law," she said.

U.S. ships monitor Chinese activities from international waters in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

China finds that unacceptable, says Rick Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

"In both areas, the Chinese air and naval forces have tried to interfere with American intelligence collection, and I expect that this kind of cat-versus-mouse contest will continue.  And, if the Chinese decide, it could get rough," said Fisher.

At the Pentagon, Secretary Hagel says such confrontations are risky.

"What we don't want is some miscalculation here to occur and when you have a Cowpens issue that's the kind of thing that's very incendiary that could be a trigger or a spark that could set off some eventual miscalculation," he said.

Asia expert Richard Cronin agrees.

"There's a high possibility of some incident, which probably wouldn't escalate into a war between the U.S. and China but could certainly involve some shooting and leave a lot of diplomatic wreckage behind," said Cronin.

Cronin, who directs the Stimson Center's Southeast Asia Program, says China also is projecting power by declaring an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea over islands administered by Japan.

"So it's all about pushing us out, and it's also about trying to expand the rights it's entitled to," he said.

The U.S. rejects the air defense zone.  As part of the Obama administration's so-called Asia pivot, Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited Vietnam and the Philippines, pledging $70 million in security aid.

"The zone should not be implemented, and China should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region, and particularly over the South China Sea," said Kerry.

Rick Fisher says China's military buildup helps justify Washington's pivot.

"But as China ramps up its actions, as it increases its pressure, it is in turn putting more pressure on the United States to reconsider defense cuts, to reconsider its strategy and to accelerate military preparations," he said.

With increased U.S. and Chinese military activity raising the potential for accidental clashes, Asian neighbors Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines remain on guard.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: QF from: Canada
December 23, 2013 7:32 AM
The captain of Liaoning was in radio contact with the Cowpens` captain all through the incidence. There is no way a collision can occur unless the us captain is crazy.

by: Alex Woo from: Hong Kong
December 22, 2013 5:41 AM


If the US is just monitoring the Liaoning, why was the cruiser Cowspen so close to it. Liaoning was just moving from one Chinese port to another, Sanya on the Hainan Island, to be stationed there. Which country is more likely to cause an accidental miscalculation?
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
December 23, 2013 3:24 AM
China's action is not profesional. If there was a collision between the two ships, the airfighters from the USA's aircraft carrier would have sunk the Liaoning in seconds and China would have lost its only aircraft carrier. USA's aircraft carriers are far more advanced than the Liaoning is. So China, you must keep in mind that it is the USA army, not the army of the Phillippines.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More