The US media has reported, citing sources from the American military, that on December 5 the Cowpens, a US guided missile cruiser, was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship when the Cowpens was near the Liaoning aircraft carrier in the South China Sea.
Anonymous sources from the US side called it a "dangerous maneuver" and said the US has made protests to China through diplomatic and military means. A statement issued by the US Pacific Fleet said that the State Department has taken the issue up with China and thinks the acts of both "not uncommon." As of last night, the Chinese military has not responded. This is not the first time that Chinese and American warships have confronted each other in the South China Sea. Airborne confrontations have also occurred often.
It is a fact that China has already announced three regions in the South China Sea as its military areas. The outside world knows that they are used for scientific research and training of the Liaoning aircraft carrier. Meanwhile, many areas in the South China Sea are China's exclusive economic zones. Clearly, the US missile cruiser has come to China's threshold and posed a threat to China's military security.
If the American navy and air force always encroach near China's doorstep, "confrontation" is bound to take place. In 2001, the collision between an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet was such an accident resulting from constant confrontation between the two.
The US side demands the Chinese navy and air force abide by "rules." Such rules are only served at American convenience to conduct inspections and show off its military strength. They do not belong to international laws. With its overall strength as the backing, the US forces the world to abide by them.
But the US should not go too far. Especially, it should show respect for China's legal interests and concerns for its own security and should not harm China's security at will.
We don't think the South China Sea is a stage where the US 7th Fleet flaunts its prowess. We try to avoid friction because we wish for a new type of major power relationship with the US rather than being pressured by this fleet.
The China-US crisis management system should be based on past rules on the one hand. On the other hand, China should also participate in rule-making. American leaders have welcomed China's peaceful rise, but they didn't actually respect the fact that as China's interests expand and its strength increases, its concern for security also deepens.
As China's strength grows, the US should learn to communicate with and respect China if it doesn't want a collision on the sea or in the air.
China should speed up empowering itself. Only when the US feels China is a well-matched adversary, will it deal with China in a reasonable way. China is trying to avoid friction with the US. But it should also be firm about safeguarding its own interests.
This has nothing to do with the "China threat" theory. Only when the world acknowledges China's deterrence, could the South and East China Seas stay in peace. We will bear every risk involved in this process.