US says Chinese destroyer came dangerously close to US ship

The US Navy, guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) operates in the South China Sea as part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Quinlan, US Navy via AP)
The US Navy, guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) operates in the South China Sea as part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Quinlan, US Navy via AP)

The US Pacific Fleet says a US Navy ship had to manoeuvre to prevent a collision with a Chinese destroyer in the South China Sea that came aggressively close to the American vessel.

US Pacific Fleet spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman says the Chinese destroyer approached the USS Decatur in an "unsafe and unprofessional manoeuver" on Sunday near Gaven Reefs in the South China Sea.

Gorman said on Tuesday that the Chinese destroyer approached within 41m of the Decatur's bow, forcing it to manoeuver.

China claims most of the strategic waterway.

The Chinese defence ministry says it opposes the US warship's entry into the waters "around China's islands and reefs".

It confirmed a Chinese missile destroyer was immediately deployed to identify the US warship and drive it away.

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