Chinese and American Ships Nearly Collide in South China Sea
In a sign of the increased tensions between the United States and China on the open seas, navy vessels from the two countries almost collided in the South China Sea when a Chinese ship cut across the bow of an American cruiser, a senior United States defense official said on Saturday.
A serious accident was averted when the U.S.S. Cowpens, a missile-carrying cruiser traveling in international waters, was forced to maneuver to avoid the Chinese vessel, the official said.
The episode, which occurred on Dec. 5 but did not become public until Friday, was one more example of the growing rivalry between China, a rising maritime power, and the United States, the dominant naval power in the Pacific region since World War II.