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Chinese inexperience was a factor in warships' near-miss: US admiral

Published on Jan 16, 2014 9:06 AM
 
The Cowpens, a US guided missile cruiser, was monitoring China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (above), as it conducted operations in international waters for the first time when the Cowpens was approached by a Chinese warship that manoeuvered in front of it at a distance of about 500 m, forcing the US vessel to take evasive action to avoid a collision, defence officials said. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Chinese operational inexperience and communications difficulties on both sides contributed to a near-collision between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship in the South China Sea last month, the head of US forces in the Asia-Pacific said.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of US Pacific Command, told a Navy conference that the Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser, was monitoring China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, as it conducted operations in international waters for the first time when the incident occurred.

The Cowpens was approached on Dec. 5 by a Chinese warship that manoeuvered in front of it at a distance of about 500 m, forcing the US vessel to take evasive action to avoid a collision, defence officials said.

"I believe that there was ... a lack of experience on some of their smaller ships and I think we have to understand that for now," Admiral Locklear told the Surface Navy Association during a question and answer session at its national symposium on Wednesday.

 
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