China Confirms Near-Collision With U.S. Missile Cruiser in South China Sea

Beijing claims Chinese aircraft carrier followed protocol

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Chinese naval soldiers are pictured manning their stations on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning, as it travels towards a military base in Sanya, Hainan province, in this undated picture made available on November 30, 2013.

China has confirmed the incident in the South China Sea on December 5, in which a U.S. guided missile cruiser was forced to make an evasive maneuver in order to avoid collision with the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.

Experts have called the near miss the most severe U.S.-China maritime event in those disputed waters since 2009, and Reuters reports that the United States has raised the issue at a “high level” with China.

China’s Defense Ministry insisted on Wednesday that its vessel had handled the situation “in accordance with strict protocol.”

The U.S. says it and other nations have the right to carry out routine operations in international waters, but China objects to U.S. surveillance operations within its exclusive economic zone.