A new incident in the Taiwan Strait fuels tension between Washington and Beijing

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On Saturday evening, the US Navy accused a Chinese ship of making dangerous moves around an US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait, less than ten days after an air accident between the two countries in the region.

The US command said in a statement that the Chinese ship made dangerous maneuvers near the Chung Hoon, the US destroyer that was navigating the strait.

The statement added that the Chinese ship passed USS Chung Hoon from the left side and then intercepted it 150 meters away, explaining that the destroyer followed its course and slowed down to a speed of ten knots to avoid a collision.

The Chinese ship passed again in front of the front of Chung Hoon from the right side to the left side, at a distance of two thousand meters, and continued sailing alongside the US destroyer, which approached it to a distance of less than 150 meters from it.

The incident occurred when the USS Chung Hoon, an Aegis-class destroyer of the US Pacific Fleet, was sailing alongside the Canadian ship HMCS Montreal in the 180-kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.

US ships regularly cross the Taiwan Strait but are rarely escorted by allied ships.

The last passage of US and Canadian ships together dates back to last September.

These moves anger China, which considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory and asserts that it has sovereign rights in the strait.

This incident is the second between the United States and China in the region in less than ten days.

The US military said on May 26 that a Chinese pilot had made an “unprovoked aggressive maneuver” near a US reconnaissance plane that was flying over the South China Sea.

The Chinese military spokesman said at the time that the US aircraft had “deliberately stormed” a training area in China to “carry out reconnaissance operations”.

For his part, Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu warned the United States on Sunday not to interfere in the dispute over Taiwan.

“If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will not hesitate for a second,” Li said in a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a conference organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“We won’t fear opponents and will work resolutely to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity, regardless of any price,” he added.

These developments coincide with the arrival of a senior US State Department official in Beijing on Sunday, to attend meetings scheduled for this week, as Washington seeks to enhance communication with China in light of the tense relations between the two countries.

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