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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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 Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs