Posted BY: Sam LaGrone
This post has been updated with a statement from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
A People’s Liberation Army Navy warship cut across the bow of a U.S. guided-missile destroyer on Saturday while it was transiting the Taiwan Strait, according to a report from embarked journalists.
USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) and HMCS Montreal (FFH-336) were transiting the strait when a PLAN warship cut across the bow of Chung-Hoon, according to a report from Canadian outlet Global News.
According to their report, a Chinese warship made a course to cut across the bow of the American destroyer and was advised over the radio by the U.S. crew to alter the course to avoid a collision. Montreal’s commander, Capt. Paul Mountford called the move unprofessional. The Chinese warship came within 150 yards of the U.S. ship.
Mountford told Global News the incident was ”clearly instigated by the Chinese.”
“The fact this was announced over the radio prior to doing it, clearly indicated this was intentional,” he said.
In a Saturday evening statement, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command confirmed the details and identified the guided-missile destroyer
During the transit, PLA(N) LUYANG III DDG 132 (PRC LY 132) executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon. The PRC LY 132 overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards,” reads the statement.
“Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 knots to avoid a collision. The PRC LY 132 crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second-time starboard to port at 2,000 yards and remained off Chung-Hoon’s port bow. The LY 132’s closest point of approach was 150 yards and its actions violated the maritime ‘Rules of the Road’ of safe passage in international waters.”
In an earlier statement, U.S. 7th Fleet said: “Chung-Hoon and Montreal’s bilateral transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. … Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region where aircraft and ships of all nations may fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”
The last Canadian-U.S. transit of the Taiwan Strait occurred In September with USS Higgins (DDG-76) and HMCS Vancouver (FFH-331). Chung-Hoon, part of Destroyer Squadron 9 and assigned to the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, transited the strait in January.
As of this posting, Chinese officials have not commented on the transit performed by Chung-Hoon and Montreal, but have previously called unannounced warship sail through the 95-nautical-mile wide strait between Taiwan and mainland China provocative.
Following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Taiwan in August, Chinese officials called on the U.S. to stop sending warships through the strait.
“I do call on our American colleagues to refrain, to exercise restraint, not to do anything to escalate the tension. So if there’s any moves damaging China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, so China will respond. China will respond.” China ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang said last year, reported Time.
Following the late April transit of USS Milius (DDG-69), People’s Liberation Army officials said Chinese ships trailed the destroyer and the PLA “will always stay on high alert and resolutely safeguard China’s national sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability.”
The transit comes as senior defense officials from the region and the U.S. are meeting in Singapore for the annual Shangri-La dialogue.