Amid increasing unease surrounding the palpable tensions between superpowers China and the United States over Taiwan, an incident unfolding last Saturday proved to be a harrowing reminder of the potential dangers lurking beneath the surface.

In a press release, the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) reported a near collision incident between China’s Type 052D Luyang III-class guided-missile destroyer (PRC LY 132) and US Navy’s USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer over the Taiwan Strait on June 3.

The USS Chung-Hoon, in accordance with international law, was in the midst of a routine joint exercise with the Canadian Navy’s HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) in the strait when the Chinese warship operated by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) made an unsafe maneuver about 150 yards (137 meters) away from the US destroyer.

(Screengrab via Global News)

INDOPACOM noted in the statement how the PRC LY 132 “overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards,” forcing the latter to slow down at ten knots to avoid a collision. The Chinese warship crossed the American destroyer’s bow the second time “starboard to port,” but this time, the former did the maneuver at 2,000 yards (about 1,829 meters) before remaining “off Chung-Hoon’s port bow.”

The statement added that the reckless actions carried out by the PLAN’s destroyer “violated the maritime ‘Rules of the Road’ of safe passage in international waters.

A proper dialogue between the US and China remains under murky waters as the latter, through its defense minister General Li Shangfu, rebuked Washington for “acts of provocation” near its territory—including Taiwan that Beijing insists on claiming as theirs despite Taepei’s clear declaration of sovereignty.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, Li also noted the resurfacing of a “cold war mentality” between the two nations. Accusing the US of engaging in “bullying and hegemony,” Li further cautioned them against meddling in what he called “China’s backyard.” He also emphasized the need for mutual respect and non-interference to avoid exacerbating tensions between the countries. Ironically, his remarks came a day after he declined to have a discussion with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Asian summit.