China confirms near miss with US ship in South China Sea
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China on Wednesday confirmed an incident between a Chinese naval vessel and a US warship in the South China Sea, after Washington said a US guided missile cruiser had avoided a collision with a Chinese warship manoeuvering nearby.
Experts have said the near-miss between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship operating near China's only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was the most significant US-China maritime incident in the disputed South China Sea since 2009.
China's Defence Ministry said the Chinese naval vessel was conducting "normal patrols" when the two vessels "met".
"During the encounter, the Chinese naval vessel properly handled it in accordance with strict protocol," the ministry said in a statement on its website (www.mod.gov.cn).