The Pentagon is pushing back hard against a Chinese report that one of Beijing’s warships chased away a U.S. Navy warship that was conducting a “freedom of navigation” patrol in international waters near one of China’s manmade islands recently.
“No one runs a navy ship out of anywhere,” a senior defense official told an American media outlet. “This whole notion that we got run off is not true.”
The U.S. defense official was responding to claims by Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian who said the destroyer USS Hopper was confronted during the passage near Scarborough Shoal, in the Spratly Islands, by the PLA navy missile destroyer Huangshan.
Qian said that the Chinese warship took actions to “drive away” the American vessel.
The U.S. official said that the Hopper was hailed via radio by the Chinese ship but the Hopper never changed course.
The U.S. warship was conducting what Navy officials call an “innocent passage” operation designed to ensure that international waters such as the South China Sea remain open. [source]
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