The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

U.S. of­fi­cials told In­side the Ring that one rea­son De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel is­sued a harsh ver­bal at­tack on China for its role in the near col­li­sion of a U.S. war­ship and Chi­nese navy ves­sel was that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment lied about hav­ing is­sued a no-sail warn­ing be­fore the Dec. 5 in­ci­dent near Hainan is­land.

Mr. Hagel called the en­counter be­tween the guid­ed­mis­sile cruiser USS Cow­pens and a Chi­nese am­phibi­ous ship that was part of a nearby air­craft car­rier group “un­help­ful” and “ir­re­spon­si­ble.”

“That ac­tion by the Chi­nese, cut­ting in front of their ship, 100 yards out in front of the Cow­pens, was not a re­spon­si­ble ac­tion,” Mr. Hagel told re­porters at the Pen­tagon sev­eral days af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Ac­cord­ing to U.S. of­fi­cials, Chi­nese of­fi­cials and state-run me­dia ac­counts blamed the United States for the near col­li­sion, claim­ing that Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties had is­sued a no-sail warn­ing to all ships not to tran­sit in the area where China’s re­fur­bished Soviet air­craft car­rier, the Liaon­ing, and other war­ships were con­duct­ing ex­er­cises.

The Chi­nese Mar­itime Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion did not is­sue notices to ships to avoid the Hainan se­cu­rity zone un­til Dec. 6 — a day af­ter the near col­li­sion and three days af­ter naval ma­neu­vers had be­gun. The

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