U.S. Ship 'Disrupts' China's Naval Exercises for Three Weeks
China was not at all pleased when the American warship USS Mustin tailed the Chinese carrier strike group for three weeks, disrupting its naval exercises.
In April, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning conducted training exercises in the Philippine Sea, East China Sea, and the Miyako Strait, where it held combat drills near Taiwan. During the whole stretch of the action, the USS Mustin was nearby.
In a press conference, China's defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian accused the USS Mustin of endangering the lives of Chinese sailors because it “severely disrupted” the naval exercises and “threatened ... the safety of vessels and crew.” Wu Quian also described the American ship as “very vile” or extremely unpleasant.
America Responds: We’re Not Doing Anything Wrong
“The U.S. Navy maintains a persistent presence in the Indo-Pacific as it has for many years and regularly interacts with foreign vessels/aircraft,” a U.S. navy official told Newsweek. “All interactions with our forces have been in accordance with international law and did not impact any ongoing operations.”
On April 11, U.S. Navy commanders aboard the USS Mustin posted a photo of the Liaoning, in an apparent message for China to behave. The photo was taken on April 4, but the timing of its publication was significant. Analysts called the move “cognitive warfare” because it is seen as a strategy to rattle China in response to its increasing aggression in the West Philippine Sea. The U.S. considers the West Philippine Sea as its first-tier line of defense in the Pacific.
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