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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid