A Chinese destroyer came a stone’s throw away from a U.S. Navy ship as the American vessel sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea, stunning photos released Tuesday showed, FOX NEWS reports.
In the photos, first obtained by gcaptain.com, the People’s Republic of China destroyer Luoyang is seen within 45 yards of the USS Decatur before the U.S. ship is forced to veer away to avoid a collision near the Gaven Reefs on Sunday, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman said.
The photos were deemed to be legitimate, but it wasn’t clear how they were obtained, a U.S. Navy official told Stars and Stripes.
“A (People’s Republic of China) Luyang destroyer approached USS Decatur in an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea. The Chinese warship conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to depart the area.
The Chinese destroyer approached within 45 yards of the front of the US ship Decatur, which was forced to have maneuvered to prevent a collision.
Our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.” ~ U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman
This U.S. Navy photo, first obtained by gcaptain.com, shows the incident between the USS Decatur, left, and the Luoyang. (U.S. Navy)
The USS Decatur, a guided-missile destroyer, was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, a U.S. defense official told Fox News in a statement. The operation was conducted to “uphold the rights and freedoms of all states under international law. Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands,” the official said.
Because of the threatening maneuvers by the Chinese Warship, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was expected to meet his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe, for security talks this month, however, the Pentagon decided to cancel the meeting due to “security risks”
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.