2013年12月30日月曜日

USS Cowpens Incident

米ミサイル巡洋艦カウペンスと遼寧随行艦(揚陸艦?)が異常接近した。
米海軍のミサイル巡洋艦「カウペンス」が、南シナ海の公海上で活動中、
中国の軍艦と一時、異常接近していたことが分かった。

米太平洋艦隊
・最終的には、米中のクルー間で連絡を取り合い、衝突は回避された。
・公海上、Cowpensに対し、中国船が停止命令を出し、進路上に割込む。

遼寧
・青島市の基地から出港。
・駆逐艦2隻とフリゲート艦2隻等が随行。
・J-15離発着訓練。

中国報道
・Cowpensが中国艦隊の進路上におり、艦隊内側30マイルまで侵入。

1982年に、国連海洋法条約(UNCLOS)に署名した中国は、EEZを越え、領海を
拡大、米国は条約に署名していない。両国は国際法軽視と批判されること
が多い。

南シナ海で米海軍と中国海軍の情報収集問題の報道があった。
報道から、状況分析が難しい。
尖閣ビデオを見た日本では、当ててきたのは、中国船だったが、中国の
報道では、海保が中国船に対し、進路妨害しやむなく衝突との展開。
ビデオの編集内容も同じかは不明。
USS Cowpens Incidentの報道も、両者の言い分は、尖閣で衝突事故と、
同じ主張に見え、分析はとても難しい。

特定秘密は、監視衛星情報が多いとのことだったが、通信情報や音紋
情報、航路情報は他国と情報交換しないため、特定秘密に当らないのだ
ろうか。

公海上 中国潜水艦探査拒否
鼻が利かなかったCNN
米海軍 スキャンダル
尖閣安保保険
特定秘密保護法案と情報公開法
石破茂 知ったか民主主義
知ったか民主主義2
BLUE ROUTE Forest Lights

Newspaper paper says USS Cowpens harassed China fleet


Chinese Warship Encountered United States Vessel


---焦点:中国空母が南シナ海で発する「表と裏」のメッセージ---
2013年 12月 21日 08:50 JST
http://jp.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idJPTYE9BJ08O20131220

[香港/北京 20日 ロイター] -中国初の空母「遼寧」に随行する戦艦が今月初めに米国のミサイル巡洋艦と異常接近し、米国側に衝突回避行動を取らせたのは、軍事的かつ政治的に重要な訓練を守る目的があったと言える。
 アジア地域の軍当局者や専門家らによると、山東省青島市の基地から出港した遼寧の今回の訓練は、南シナ海で初めての実施というだけでなく、米空母と同様に駆逐艦などを初めて随行して行われた。
 豪キャンベラ在住の軍事アナリストで元防衛当局高官、ロス・バベッジ氏は「中国は南シナ海に空母を送り込むことで大国としての地位を地域に誇示し、それに対し米国は『我々は最大の勢力として、まだここにいる』というシグナルを送り返している」と語った。
 米太平洋艦隊によると、ミサイル巡洋艦「カウペンス」は今月5日、南シナ海の公海上で活動中に、中国海軍の艦船と異常接近した。これについて、ヘーゲル米国防長官は19日、中国側の行動は行動は「無責任」だと強く非難した。
 一方、中国の新華社は、カウペンスは中国海軍の艦船から停船するよう「警告」を受けていたと報道。米国側は遼寧を「意図的に」に監視下に置いていたとしている。
 中国海軍は今回の訓練を「科学研究・実験と軍事演習」と称しており、来年1月3日に終了する予定だが、それ以上の詳細はほとんど明らかにしていない。中国国防省には同訓練に関するコメントを求めたが、まだ回答は得られていない。
 遼寧は1998年にウクライナから購入して改修した空母で、中国の海軍力増強を象徴する存在。過去20年にわたって国防予算を毎年ほぼ2桁増やしてきた中国は、領有権問題を抱える南シナ海や東シナ海での経済権益を守るべく、遠洋航行能力を完全に備えた海軍力の獲得を目指している。
 空母打撃群はその中核となるもので、遼寧の訓練を成功させることは、2020年までに複数の国産空母を展開させるという目標に向けた第一歩となる。
 米国防総省は今年発表した中国の軍事力に関する年次報告書で、中国で国産空母が就役するのは早くても2025年だと指摘している。
 軍事専門家は、国産空母の予備的な建造は一部始まっているとみているが、中国の空母建造計画は国家機密であり、長興島にある江南造船所で建造が進んでいるという確固たる証拠はまだ報告されていない。

<ゼロからの出発>
 国内外の関心は、遼寧乗組員らが空母航行の中核要素をどれだけ習得しているかに集まっている。空母の運用には、極めて難しい艦載機の離発着だけでなく、多岐にわたる高度な海軍戦略や理論も求められる。
 南シナ海で先月訓練を実施した米空母ジョージ・ワシントンに乗船する匿名の米軍高官は、ロイターの取材に「空母は非常にタフで複雑、かつ費用がかかる仕事だ」と説明。「きちんと運用できるようになるまでには何年も何年も要するが、中国はそれをゼロから始めている」と語った。
 中国メディアの報道などによると、青島市の基地から出港した遼寧の最初の訓練は、艦載戦闘機「J─15」の離発着に集中しているもよう。遼寧には過去にも補給艦などが随行することはあったが、11月26日に出港した今回は初めて、駆逐艦2隻とフリゲート艦2隻などが随行している。
 アジア各国の大使館付き武官らは、遼寧が海南島三亜の基地を母港にするとすれば、南シナ海を定期的に航行するようになると警戒している。

<過度な反応は禁物>
 一方で、中国のアナリストと一部の国営メディアは、こうした警戒感を解こうと躍起になっているようにも見える。
 遼寧が中国海軍の空母として昨年初めての海上試験を実施した際も、中国人民解放軍の当局者たちは、領有権問題の解決に向けて同空母がすぐにでも派遣されるとの一部国民の期待をいさめていた。
 復旦大学国際問題研究院の沈丁立副院長は、遼寧は実戦用というよりは訓練目的の空母だとし、「米国は安心していい。向こう50年は寝ていて大丈夫だ。中国は米軍の能力には対抗できない」と語っている。
 また共産党が発行する中国青年報は、遼寧が抱える一連の装備面の弱点を指摘。さらに、米海軍のような大規模な空母戦闘群を「有機的に運用する」ことが重要だが、「中国の空母はそのレベルには達していない」と論じた。
 遼寧がいつ完全に機能するようになるかについても、多くの疑問が残されている。当初は3─4年で実運用可能になると推測されていたが、コンサルティンググループ「IHSエアロスペース・ディフェンス・アンド・マリタイム」の北京駐在シニアアナリスト、ゲリー・リー氏は、10年先に伸びる可能性も内部から漏れ伝わっていると指摘。こうしたうわさは「(空母に対する)期待をコントロールする側面もあるが、空母戦闘群のような複雑なものを準備が整う前に急いで使いたくないという思惑もあるのではないか」と語った。


---米中軍艦が南シナ海で異常接近、米側の回避で衝突免れる---
2013年 12月 16日 07:28 JST
http://jp.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idJPTYE9BE01C20131215

[ワシントン/上海 14日 ロイター] -米海軍のミサイル巡洋艦「カウペンス」が今月5日、南シナ海の公海上で活動中、中国の軍艦と一時、異常接近していたことが分かった。
 米太平洋艦隊が13日に声明で明らかにした。米側が回避措置をとったため、衝突は免れたという。米軍当局者は「最終的には、米中のクルー間で連絡を取り合い、衝突は回避された」と説明している。
 米軍の準機関紙・星条旗新聞が米国務省高官の話として伝えたところでは、米国は今回の事件をめぐって、中国政府に対し「高いレベルで」申し入れを行った。中国外務、国防省はコメントしていない。


---中国空母監視の米巡洋艦、中国艦妨害で緊急停止---
2013年12月15日07時22分  読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20131214-OYT1T00308.htm

 【ワシントン=今井隆】米軍当局者は13日、米イージス巡洋艦「カウペンス」が南シナ海で今月5日に中国海軍の艦船と衝突しそうになり、回避行動を取っていたことを明らかにした。
 米側は詳細を公表していないが、偶発的な衝突の発生も危惧していたとみられ、中国側に再発防止を求めた。
 米軍準機関紙スターズ・アンド・ストライプス(電子版)は13日、米軍当局者の話として、中国艦が南シナ海の公海上でカウペンスの進路を妨害して停船させようと試みたと伝えた。
 米CNNテレビによると、カウペンスは中国艦に対し、無線で近づきすぎていると警告。だが、中国艦が航行を続けたため、カウペンスは緊急停止を余儀なくされた。停止時の距離は500ヤード(約460メートル)に満たなかったという。
 関係者によると、カウペンスは当時、この海域で演習をしていた中国の空母「遼寧」の動向を監視していたとみられる。米軍が継続的に監視していたことに対し、中国艦が警告を発しようとしたのではないかとの見方が出ている。


---シナ海:中国艦が米艦にニアミス 米側が回避し抗議---
毎日新聞 2013年12月14日 11時35分(最終更新 12月14日 12時48分)
http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20131214k0000e030204000c.html

 【ワシントン西田進一郎】米海軍のミサイル巡洋艦が今月5日、南シナ海の公海を航行中に中国海軍の艦船と衝突しそうになり、回避行動を強いられていたことが13日、分かった。米国防総省当局者が毎日新聞の取材に明らかにした。また、国務省当局者も事態の詳細についての説明は避けたが、「米国政府は中国政府に対し、この問題を重要な問題として提起した」と語り、抗議したことを示唆した。
 国防総省当局者は「非常に近接して航行することは海軍にとって普通のことではない。だからこそ、最高レベルの安全性を保つために海洋航行のルールの国際的な基準に従うことが最も重要なことだ」と中国側を批判した。
 米CNNテレビ(電子版)によると、ミサイル巡洋艦「カウペンス」が5日に南シナ海の公海を航行中、中国の空母「遼寧」を含む海軍の艦船団から離れた艦船がカウペンスに近づいた。米側が無線で警告した後も航行を続け、両艦が接近しすぎたため、衝突を避けるためカウペンスがやむなく緊急停止した。米海軍当局者はCNNに対し、停止した際、両艦の距離は500ヤード(約460メートル)もなかったと説明したという。
 中国は東シナ海や南シナ海での軍事活動を強めており、11月には沖縄県・尖閣諸島を含む東シナ海に防空識別圏を設定したばかり。米国は中国が軍事力を背景に一方的に現状を変更しようと試みていると警戒を強め、偶発的な衝突の危険性を減らし、緊張を緩和するよう行動すべきだとの考えを中国側に伝え続けている。


---中国艦船と米巡洋艦が“一触即発”-南シナ海---
2013.12.14 10:52
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/131214/amr13121410530006-n1.htm

 【ワシントン=青木伸行】南シナ海で活動中の米海軍のイージス巡洋艦が、中国海軍の艦船から停船を要求された上で航行を妨害され、緊急回避行動を取っていたことが13日、発覚した。不測の事態を招く危険な行動であり、米政府は中国政府に抗議した。
 米国防総省と国務省の当局者によると、事件があったのは5日。米海軍の巡洋艦「カウペンス」が航行中、中国艦船が停船を要求し、警告を発した。カウペンスは公海上であることから要求を無視して航行を続けたが、中国艦船はカウペンスの前方に回り込み、進路をふさごうとしたため、カウペンスは緊急回避行動を強いられた。
 カウペンスは、演習のため南シナ海に展開していた中国の空母「遼寧」の動向を監視していたとみられている。
 この事態を受け、米政府は外交、国防ルートを通じて中国政府に抗議。米海軍当局者は「事件は、艦船間の通信を含め、不測の事態を招く危険性を低減させる措置の必要性を示すものだ」としている。
 カウペンスは11月、台風に襲われたフィリピンの被災地支援に参加した。


---USS Cowpens Incident: Rule Bending in the South China Sea---
By Robert Farley
December 25, 2013
http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/uss-cowpens-incident-rule-bending-in-the-south-china-sea/

The incident stems in part from a desire in China to push back against the United States.

Unsurprisingly, interpretations of the recent “Cowpens Incident,” in which a PLAN amphib swung across the bow of the cruiser USS Cowpens, have varied dramatically. Nevertheless, most analysts seem to agree that the incident stems in part from a desire in China to push back against the United States, especially in contexts where the PLAN cannot reply to the USN in kind.  No Chinese submarines or surface ships, for example, can monitor a new U.S. carrier during the process of undergoing trials. Such games were common in the Cold War, as the Soviet Navy and the USN took a long time to sort through precisely what the rules were, what it meant to bend a rule, and what happened when the rules broke. However, the current situation is a good deal more complex; the PLAN may find that it needs to “push back” against not only the United States, but also India, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, and a handful of other Southeast Asian nations.

The Cold War surely presented its own version of a tense, complex maritime environment, but at least in that case good alliance relations between most of the major navies on either side meant that informal rules of the road could be applied with some confidence.  A Russian SSN playing tag with a French, British, or U.S. nuclear submarine had at least some sense that the other side shared a common purpose, if not always particular tactics. The current situation in East Asia is considerably different. As regional powers seek to increase their naval strength, an ever more complex maritime space develops. Sometimes, the increase in complexity does not even require the deployment of a larger number of ships; the “defensive zone” of the Liaoning is necessarily a relatively new concept for the PLAN. But in less than a decade, each of South Korea, Japan, Australia, India, the United States, and China may be operating carrier/amphib battle groups in rough proximity to one another. A shared understanding of the rules is important both to those who wish to live within them and those who want to test them, and the multiplicity of actors in Western Pacific makes coming to such an understanding exceptionally difficult.

Of course, it is possible to over-analyze the incident.  Local commanders often make decisions without input from national capitals, and in areas where the rules remain hazy and unclear, these decisions can lead to political incidents.  However, as Toshi Yoshihara has argued, some analyses run the risk of letting China off too easily by assuming that provocations are the result of bureaucratic and operational snafus, rather than intentional action. Signaling is extremely complex, and it can be difficult to convey whether one’s intent is to abide by a rule, bend a rule, or break a rule.

The situation becomes even more difficult in the context of ongoing tensions. Rule bending and rule breaking, in such a situation, can lead to more dramatic consequences than a hard turn to port. Undoubtedly, East Asian leaders should take this problem into account when they accede to the unnecessary stoking of tensions. Similarly, the incident emphasizes the need for tightly disciplined armed forces. Undisciplined soldiers and sailors make this kind of incident more dangerous in two ways. First, they lead to the development of incidents when none needed to happen; a rogue fighter jock straying too close to a spy plane, for example. Second, they run the risk of making “planned” infractions worse.  It’s one thing to cut across the bow of an American cruiser in order to make a political point, but another thing entirely if a collision or brief exchange of fire results from lack of discipline and professionalism. It is in some ways easier to allow for a slow, halting process of rule formation, but such a decision also has its hazards.


---Hagel calls Chinese actions toward USS Cowpens ‘irresponsible’---
By Jon Harper
Stars and Stripes
Published: December 19, 2013
http://www.stripes.com/news/us/hagel-calls-chinese-actions-toward-uss-cowpens-irresponsible-1.258458

 WASHINGTON - During a press conference on Thursday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reprimanded China for its aggressive actions toward the USS Cowpens during an incident in the South China Sea in early December.

According to U.S. military officials, a Chinese navy vessel harassed the Cowpens in international waters on Dec. 5 and tried to compel the vessel to stop. U.S. Pacific Fleet said the Cowpens was forced to do a maneuver to avoid a collision.

“That action by the Chinese, cutting in front of their ship, 100 yards out in front of the Cowpens, was not a responsible action,” Hagel said. “It was unhelpful. It was irresponsible.”

Hagel said the incident underscored the need for better crisis management between the U.S. and China.

“We need to work toward putting in place some kind of a mechanism in Asia-Pacific and with China…to be able to diffuse some of these issues as they occur,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon. “What we don't want is some miscalculation here to occur. And when you have a Cowpens issue, that's the kind of thing…that could be a trigger or a spark that could set off some eventual miscalculation.”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the near-collision highlights the importance of bilateral efforts to reach an agreement about rules of behavior in the global commons. Dempsey and his Chinese counterpart set up a U.S.-China working group to deal with the issue when Dempsey visited China last year.

“This reinforces in my mind that we need to continue to have that work ongoing, because as the secretary said, we certainly don't want miscalculation or accident,” Dempsey said.

The working group has made some progress, according to Dempsey.

China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was in the area when the encounter between the Chinese amphibious transport ship and the Cowpens occurred, according to U.S. defense officials.

When asked if the Cowpens was conducting a surveillance mission against the Liaoning that day, a defense official told Stars and Stripes that the U.S. military would not comment on specific operations.

During the press conference, Dempsey was dismissive of China’s carrier capabilities.

“Carrier ops are about as complicated an operation as any we conduct…They are a long way from being a threat to us with their aircraft carrier,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey said U.S. military rules of engagement have not changed in the wake of the Cowpens incident, but suggested that American forces in the region are now being more cautious than usual.

“There are times that are more sensitive than others. And we're in a heightened period of sensitivity, and you can count on our mariners and airmen to be aware of that,” Dempsey said.


---Analysts: China, US legal views make more ‘Cowpens incidents’ likely---
By Erik Slavin
Stars and Stripes
Published: December 19, 2013
http://www.stripes.com/news/analysts-china-us-legal-views-make-more-cowpens-incidents-likely-1.258357

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan - Apart from some very serious territorial disputes with neighboring countries, much of the naval tension surrounding China boils down to one question: Do military ships have a right to surveillance and other operations in international waters, if they are within 200 nautical miles of another nation?

Most of the world, including the United States, says yes. About 25 nations, mostly in Asia and including China, say no, to some degree.

The recent incident between the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens and a Chinese amphibious dock ship is another example of that differing viewpoint playing out, as it has multiple times since Chinese vessels surrounded the surveillance ship USNS Impeccable in 2009.

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning left its homeport on November 26 for its first deployment to the South China Sea, along with escorts resembling a U.S.-style carrier battle group.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on whether Cowpens was monitoring the group’s activities, as it normally declines to discuss intelligence gathering.

That said, the Navy hasn’t made any secret of its interest in China’s first aircraft carrier, and what its Beijing plans to do with it.  With satellites, undersea listening, aircraft imagery, sonar, radar and other methods, the Navy can capably collect a lot of information on other ships from a safe distance, if it so chooses.

Cowpens, which had just finished a typhoon assistance mission in The Philippines, was in international waters on Dec. 5 when it “had an encounter that required maneuvering to avoid a collision,” according to a statement by the U.S. Pacific Fleet on Dec. 13.

The Chinese ship ordered Cowpens to stop and then blocked its way, forcing Cowpens to a stop, according to U.S. reports.

The Chinese version holds that Cowpens was operating in China’s waters and had come within 30 miles of the fleet’s “inner defense layer,” according to Chinese state-affiliated media reports.

Media reports cite anonymous defense officials from both countries accusing the other of harassment.
Both sides, given their view of how an exclusive economic zone functions, were right by their own standards - even if China’s interpretation of the international laws governing EEZs garners little support.

EEZs were codified into the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, which China has signed. The United States has not ratified the law but follows most of its principles.

EEZs extend up to 200 nautical miles beyond a nation’s coast, though differing lengths have been worked out between neighboring countries.

China claims the vast majority of the South China Sea as within its EEZ, a claim disputed by nearly all of its maritime neighbors.

Beijing also reserves the right to direct foreign ships in those waters and prevent surveillance. Those practices fundamentally conflict with the United States’ view of EEZs, which comprise about one-third of the world’s waters.

The U.S. Navy views the guarantee of freedom of navigation in EEZs - and any other international waters - as a vital part of its global mission.

As China’s military rapidly modernizes, the clashing viewpoints are bound to cause more problems like what Cowpens experienced, according to analysts.

“I think we can safely predict more of these incidents in the future,” said Ian Storey, senior fellow with the Singapore-based Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

The U.S. and China might mitigate the chances of a similar encounter from getting out of hand, Storey said, through an agreement like the 1972 U.S.-Soviet Incidents at Sea pact. The agreement set protocols to avoid collisions and showdowns.

However, Storey noted that the U.S. and Soviet Union both agreed that they would use international waters to watch each other, which made surveillance rules much easier to craft.

Until recently, it appeared China was ready to change its interpretation of EEZ activity.

In June, a Chinese officer told Adm. Samuel Locklear, Pacific Command chief, at a Singapore gathering of defense officials that China’s navy had conducted missions within U.S. exclusive economic zones off Guam and Hawaii, confirming an earlier report to Congress.

“We encourage their ability to do that,” Locklear told reporters at the time.

The Chinese leadership’s new approach, as explained at a forum in October, seemed to reinforce the view in Beijing that its aggressive EEZ actions were harming its image, said Paul Haenle, a retired Army foreign area officer and director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing.

“The Cowpens incident seems to run counter to these developments,” Haenle said. “It raises tensions and anxieties already present in the region, especially in the immediate aftermath of China’s [Air Defense Identification Zone] announcement, and questions about China’s regional intentions.”

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed during the Cowpens incident. The captain of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, who had visited the Pentagon in September, and Cowpens’ commanding officer talked over the radio and defused the situation.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Monday that the incident’s resolution reflected the two nations’ improving relationship between its militaries.

On Dec. 18, China’s foreign ministry issued its only official statement on the incident. It sounded a lot like Warren’s comments.

“Relations between the Chinese and U.S. militaries enjoy excellent prospects for development and both sides are willing to boost communication, coordinate closely, and work to maintain regional peace and stability,” the statement said.

The Chinese navy is still scheduled to participate in the 23-nation RIMPAC 2014 exercise in Hawaii. It will be the first time China takes part in the world’s largest maritime exercise, which is organized by the United States.

Haenle said the Chinese and U.S. militaries have made “commendable progress” within the past year, but that the Cowpens incident underscores how unsatisfactory it remains.

“Military-to-military relations remain the weakest link in the overall U.S.-China bilateral relationship because of a lack of regular communication between our militaries and deep-rooted mistrust,” he said.

Haenle suggested that China could reduce regional tensions by signing a binding code of conduct, something the U.S. would welcome and that the Association of Southeast Nations has pushed for since the 1990s.

A code of conduct could lessen the chance of a violent confrontation at sea, especially in regard to the many islands claimed by China and other countries. China has agreed to consultations on a code of conduct next year, though not necessarily to negotiations, Storey said.

Many China watchers question whether China would agree to anything substantive, because it could force China to back away from territory claimed by The Philippines, Vietnam and others.

However, China is also wary of what it terms “encirclement” by United States allies. During recent visits to Vietnam and the Philippines, Secretary of State pledged millions in aid, including $18 million to Vietnam’s coast guard for high-speed patrol vessels.

Beijing may find that giving some ground is in its interests, Haenle said.

“Otherwise, China will be the architect of its own containment, as its neighbors could continue to balance against it,” Haenle said.


---U.S. complains to China after warships narrowly avoid collision--
By Simon Denyer and William Wan, Published: December 15 E-mail the writers
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/us-complains-to-china-after-warships-narrowly-avoid-collision/2013/12/14/b224c610-64ea-11e3-af0d-4bb80d704888_story.html

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy vessel had tried to get the USS Cowpens to stop, according to military officials quoted in the Stars and Stripes newspaper. “I don’t know the intent of the guy driving that PLA ship,” one U.S. official told the paper. “I just know that he was moving to impede and harass the Cowpens.”

BEIJING - The U.S. government has complained to Chinese officials after one of its guided missile cruisers was forced to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship in international waters in the South China Sea earlier this month.

A U.S. defense official confirmed the incident had taken place in international waters on Dec. 5.

“It is not uncommon for navies to operate in close proximity, which is why it is paramount that all navies follow international standards for maritime rules of the road in order to maintain the highest levels of safety and professionalism,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak by name. “Eventually, effective bridge-to-bridge communication occurred between the U.S. and Chinese crews, and both vessels maneuvered to ensure safe passage.”

A State Department spokesman, who was also not authorized to speak by name, said the United States had raised the issue with China at a high level.

This is not the first time U.S. and Chinese naval ships have come close to an accident in the area. In 2009, five Chinese military vessels surrounded and harassed the USNS Impeccable in international waters in the South China Sea and forced it to carry out an emergency stop, according to the Pentagon. That incident drew a protest from the White House.

The latest incident comes amid growing friction between the militaries of the United States and China.

Last month, China unilaterally established an “air defense identification zone” in the East China Sea, encompassing a chain of small, rocky islands that it claims sovereignty over but that are administered by Japan.

It warned that any non-commercial aircraft entering the zone without notice could face “defensive emergency measures,” but the United States immediately called China’s bluff by flying B-52 bombers through the zone.

A few days later, China scrambled fighter jets to track U.S. and Japanese military aircraft flying through the zone.

The establishment of the air defense zone was seen as part of China’s increasingly assertive and nationalistic stance over disputed maritime territory contested with many of its neighbors.

On a trip to the region last week, Vice President Biden said the United States was “deeply concerned by the attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea.” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned this week that China’s actions on the air defense zone raised regional tensions and increased the risk of “miscalculation, confrontation and accidents.”

Shortly after establishing the air defense zone, China deployed its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to the South China Sea for military drills. At the time, the nationalistic state-run Global Times newspaper complained that, during its voyage, “warplanes and aircraft from the US and Japan nervously followed the Chinese carrier, trying to put psychological pressure on the Chinese people.”

China’s government has not made any comment about the latest incident, but the Global Times newspaper carried a report on it Saturday that accused the U.S. military of “using the excuse of freedom of navigation on the high seas as a way to conduct close surveillance and monitoring of China’s normal military activities.”

David Finkelstein of the Center for Naval Analysis said the incident did not appear to be tied to the air defense zone. “My gut would suggest to me that this dangerous and uncalled-for activity was a local initiative by the local Chinese commanders,” he said. “I see this as a task force that used less than professional methods to protect their carrier, thereby engaging in potentially dangerous behavior.”

But Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation said that the latest incident was part of a trend that goes back to 2011 and that there was little doubt that it was intentional, coming after the air defense zone was set up and just before the Biden visit.

“All of this is consistent,” he said. “It reflects a very Chinese point of view that these are our waters, under our control, and everyone else should leave. The Chinese are pushing their claims, willing to run risks, willing to be aggressive.”

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