USS McCampbell completed a “freedom of navigation” mission this week
The warning comes amid fears that strategic tensions between the two countries in are still simmering across the troubled region. Zhang Junshe, a researcher at China’s PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said: “Both countries warships definitely have to come into close proximity and it’s easy for there to be a misunderstanding or an error of judgement, even a collision. And if there is a collision, the root cause is the United States.”
A US guided-missile destroyer sailed near disputed islands the South China Sea on Monday in what China called a “provocation” just as crunch trade talks got underway in Beijing.
The USS McCampbell conducted what Washington described as a “freedom of navigation operation” near three features in the Paracel Islands chain.
The operation followed Vice President Mike Pence’s assertion that “the United States is taking decisive action to protect our interests and promote the Indo-Pacific’s shared success”.
But Mr Zhang said whenever US warships entered waters that China has claims on Beijing has no option but to send its one vessels warships to deal with them, leading to increasingly more risky challenges.
Tensions are growing in the disputed South China Sea