South China Sea: Chinese warship almost

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The U.S. military on October 1 revealed that during the FONOP, China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warship, came within 45 yards (40 meters) of the Decatur, and that the U.S. Navy destroyer had to alter course to avoid colliding with the Chinese vessel.

"The Chinese vessel took quick action and made checks against the United States vessel in accordance with the law, and warned it to leave the waters", it said.

The Chinese ship "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive manoeuvres", coming within 45 yards of the bow of the Decatur, a guided-missile cruiser on what the Pentagon described as a routine mission in global waters.

In May, Chinese warships warned two USA navy ships away from the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea and maneuvered in a "safe, but unprofessional" manner, according to a CBS report. The operation was conducted to "uphold the rights and freedoms of all states under global law".

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, but faces competing claims over the Spratlys from Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as Taiwan.

Washington has blasted Beijing for its island-building in the South China Sea, fearing the outposts could be used to restrict free movement in the waterway.

The behavior "gravely threatens China's sovereignty and security, gravely damages relations between China and the United States and their militaries, and gravely injures regional peace and stability". The showcase of US air power coincided with the integrated Defense of the Amphibious Task Force (DATF) drill held by the US Navy in the South China Sea on September 27.

The 12-mile distance is commonly accepted as constituting the territorial waters of a landmass.

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China was also angered by US sanctions on its military for buying Russian arms.

The United States has said the destroyer was conducting a "freedom of navigation" mission into oceanic territory as it seeks to reject maritime claims by multiple countries.

China said it drove away a U.S. Navy warship that sailed close to a Chinese-occupied feature in the disputed South China Sea, in the latest show of tensions between the countries amid their escalating trade war. The U.S. would "continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows", said Gorman, the Pacific Fleet spokesman.

Chinese ships often shadow USA vessels during similar operations but at a greater distance.

US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers flew through both the East and South China Sea last week.

Meanwhile, media reports have said China has also canceled a high-level security meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis that had been planned for later this month amid a broad range of disputes between Beijing and Washington, over issues such as arms sales to Taiwan and military activity in the South China Sea and other waters around China.

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