CHINESE WARNING A DAY LATE
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