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US-China Tensions Rise Amidst Dangerous Military Encounters

In a statement released on Monday, the White House said that recent dangerous encounters between US and Chinese personnel in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait showed Beijing's military is becoming more aggressive, raising the chance of an accident in which "somebody gets hurt."


Washington issued a stern warning after the U.S. Navy released a video of what it called an "unsafe interaction" in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, in which a Chinese vessel crossed in front of a U.S. destroyer in the important waterway.

The event could lead to further conflicts as both nations trade accusations for not holding military discussions. The adversaries have differences over everything from trade to Taiwan to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Additionally, it follows a May 26 incident in which a Chinese fighter jet engaged in what the US described as an "unnecessarily aggressive" move near an American military aircraft over the South China Sea in international airspace.

White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters about the deteriorating ties between Washington and Beijing: "Unfortunately, this is just part of, again, a growing aggressiveness by the PRC (People's Republic of China) that we're dealing with, and we're prepared to address it."

Kirby quoted, "It won't be long before somebody gets hurt. It wouldn't take much for an error in judgment or a mistake to get made."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated in Beijing that "the measures taken by the Chinese military are completely reasonable, legitimate, professional, and safe."

Despite the increased tensions, US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel stated that President Joe Biden's administration is "looking to continue to have a predictable relationship with the PRC."

Patel told reporters," President Biden has been clear we don't seek any kind of new Cold War, and our competition must not spill over into conflict." 

The Chinese ship cut in front of the US vessel, approaching within 150 yards (137 metres), according to the US military, while the American destroyer Chung-Hoon and Canadian frigate Montreal were making a "routine" transit of the strait on Saturday.

Wang stated at a press conference on Monday that, "The US had caused trouble and provocation first, while China dealt with it in accordance with the law and regulations afterwards." 

The most recent episodes, according to some independent observers, point to a more aggressive shift in China's strategy against what it perceives as an advance by US and ally forces. But for at least the past year, US officials have been depicting Beijing's military as adopting a more combative stance.

According to Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation, a US think tank, "China is only increasing the chances for error -- namely, ships or aircraft accidentally colliding -- that could then spiral into armed conflict."

In 2001, a US surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet, whose pilot died and had to make an emergency landing on the island of Hainan in China.



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