A US guided missile cruiser
operating in international waters in the South China Sea was
forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision
with a Chinese warship maneuvering nearby, the US Pacific
Fleet said in a statement on Friday.
The incident came as the USS Cowpens was operating in the
vicinity of China's only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, at a
time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing's
declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone farther north
in the East China Sea, a US defense official said.
Another Chinese warship maneuvered near the Cowpens in the
incident on Dec. 5, and the Cowpens was forced to take evasive
action to avoid a collision, the Pacific Fleet said in its
"Eventually, effective bridge-to-bridge communications
occurred between the US and Chinese crews, and both vessels
maneuvered to ensure safe passage," a defense official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, said in an email.
The Cowpens had been in the Philippines helping with
disaster relief in the aftermath of the massive typhoon that hit
the region in November. The US Navy said it was conducting
regular freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea
when the incident occurred.