US, Chinese warships narrowly avoid collision in South China Sea
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A US guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese navy ship maneuvering nearby, the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Friday.
The incident on December 5 involving the USS Cowpens came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China following Beijing's declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.
The Pacific Fleet statement did not offer details about what led to the near-collision. But it did say the incident underscored the need for the "highest standards of professional seamanship, including communications between vessels, to mitigate the risk of an unintended incident or mishap."
Beijing declared the air defense zone over the East China Sea late last month and demanded that aircraft flying through the area provide it with flight plans and other information.