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New footage from 2018 near-collision between U.S., Chinese warships shows sailors preparing for impact

New footage from 2018 near-collision between U.S., Chinese warships shows sailors preparing for impact

24.1.2020

New footage from 2018 near-collision between U.S., Chinese warships shows sailors preparing for impact

The incident occurred in the contested South China Sea, where the U.S. military conducts 'freedom of navigation' operations in waters claimed by Beijing.

Previously unreleased video footage of a near-collision between American and Chinese warships in 2018 shows that Chinese sailors were concerned enough to prepare their vessel for a potentially catastrophic accident. The tense interception occurred in September 2018, when the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur was conducting a"freedom of navigation" operation in the contested waters of the South China Sea. It was met by the Chinese destroyer Lanzhou , which sailed alongside the American vessel and warned its crew to leave the area. The Chinese ship warned that the Americans would"suffer consequences" if they maintained their course. China claims the South China Sea as its own territorial waters, but the U.S. and other neighboring nations dispute the assertion. The U.S. regularly conducts naval and aerial operations in the area to assert its belief that most of the South China Sea constitutes international waters. Initial reports of the incident included footage showing the Lanzhou within 45 yards of the Decatur as it sailed near the Spratly Islands. But new footage—acquired from the U.S. Navy by The South China Morning Post via a freedom of information request—shows Chinese sailors dropping protective buoys on the side of the vessel's hull in case of a collision. Related Stories Read more: Newsweek

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