Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Beijing amid tension

Minnie Murray
October 5, 2018

The announcement of Pompeo's trip to Beijing came as the Agence France-Presse (AFP) agency that the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China has triggered military tensions between the two nations.

In this situation, under global naval law, the U.S. destroyer would have right of way and be required to maintain direction and speed, Schuster said.

"It's like slamming on the brakes and turning to the right to avoid a crash on the road", said Schuster, now a Hawaii Pacific University professor.

"Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan", Pence said.

Naval website published a series of photos Tuesday showing the USS Decatur and the People's Republic of China destroyer Luyang passing each other during the confrontation.

In the sequence of pictures, the USS Decatur, pictured on the left, is seen next to the Chinese Warship that was dispatched by Beijing to chase the USA vessel into neutral waters and away from the Gaven Reefs, which are claimed by China.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet described the incident as "unsafe, unprofessional and aggressive". Likely taken by an American drone or by the Decatur's Sea Hawk helicopter, they show a Chinese destroyer maneuvering just 45 yards in front of Decatur.

That all came around the time U.S. B-52 bombers took part in a combined operation with Japan over the East China Sea, and flew through worldwide airspace over the South China Sea.

Instead, it considers the waters and airspace to be worldwide and regularly conducts what it calls "freedom of navigation operations" in which warships and aircraft travel through disputed zones in order to demonstrate this.

On Monday, a United States defence official said that security talks due to take place later this month in Beijing between Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart had been cancelled.

This is not the first time that the relations between China and the United States are going through turbulence.

In a statement on the incident, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said that its ship had "given a warning to leave" to the vessel after it entered the area 'without permission'.

USA and Chinese forces are confronting one another in the South China Sea with increasing regularity, as Washington exerts pressure on Beijing's aggressive territorial claims.

Reuters reported on Sunday that China cancelled a security meeting with Mr Mattis that had been planned for this month.

U.S. -China military relations have been strained before.

Gaven Reef is one of seven Chinese-claimed outposts in the Spratlys Archipelago. However, the islands Spratleys are claimed by Beijing, which has built military infrastructure, but also by the Philippines and Vietnam. "As we have for decades, our forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows".

The vice president cited a Chinese government document, called "Propaganda and Censorship Notice", which he claimed laid out a strategy aimed at "splitting apart different domestic groups in the United States", much as U.S. intelligence services have unanimously concluded that Russian Federation did in the 2016 elections.

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