US naval chief: American and Chinese navies in talks to reduce risk of South China Sea miscalculation


The US naval chief said on Monday that the US and Chinese navies are engaged in “continuous dialogues” to reduce the risk of a military miscalculation in the South China Sea.

Admiral John Richardson told an audience at the Washington-based Brookings Institute that the interchanges between the two navies aim to build communication to avoid a potentially disastrous blunder. The discussions are a positive sign that China and the US are moving forward with a plan to reduce tensions in the disputed waters.

Concerns about the chances of an incident at sea occurring grew in September after a PLA Navy ship nearly collided with an American destroyer, the Decatur, which sailed near an islet claimed by Beijing in the Spratly archipelago, known in China as the Nansha Islands.

The Chinese ship came within 41 metres (135 feet) of the US vessel, leading the Pentagon to accuse the PLA Navy of conducting an aggressively “unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre”.