China Slams Disproportionate US Naval Response in South China Sea

Navy to Keep Destroyer in Region for Duration of Impeccable's Mission

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2009

The Aegis Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon has been dispatched to the South China Sea in the wake of a Sunday incident involving the USNS Impeccable, an unarmed surveillance ship, and five vessels in the Chinese Navy.

Chinese military officials condemned the move, saying “the timing and the extent have gone beyond what you could call proportionate.” The Pentagon has said the destroyer “is there, in the area, keeping an eye on Impeccable, which continues lawful military operations.”

The incident has been described by US officials as “the most serious” since April 2001. The US claimed the ships harassed the Impeccable without provocation, while Chinese officials say that the ship “broke international and Chinese laws in the South China Sea,” and was conducting surveillance near the Chinese island of Hainan.

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