Russia has accused a US warship of causing a near collision with one of its naval vessel in the East China Sea due to what it described as dangerous maneuvering.
Russia-based news agencies cited the Russian Navy as stating on Friday that American guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville has come within only 50 meters of Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov, which it said was forced to take emergency measures to avoid a collision.
No reaction has yet been issued by the US military regarding the incident as reported by the Russian media.
This came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his visiting Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping declared during a joint press conference in Moscow that the two countries are determined to forge closer ties in face of shared tensions brought about by the US.
"We decided that we would raise our bilateral relations to a new, higher level -- increasing our mutual support and assistance, and promote our relations in a new era," Xi said on Wednesday before signing a number of major financial agreements with Putin, whom he later described as “a best friend.”
On the sidelines of the meeting, key Russian and Chinese companies also signed cooperation agreements, with Chinaís Alibaba, Russian mobile phone operator Megafon, internet group Mail.ru and the Russian sovereign investment fund RDIF inking a major deal on a joint e-commerce venture.
China’s telecom giant Huawei, which has been accused by Washington of spying for Beijing, also signed an agreement with Russian telecom company MTS.
Putin calls China ímost important economic partnerí
Hailing expanding trade ties between China and Russia, Putin described Beijing as the most important partner Moscow has ever had, telling Xi: "In recent years, thanks to your direct participation, the relationship between Russia and China has reached an unprecedentedly high level."
Earlier this month, a senior Chinese military official reacted strongly to recent US actions near Taiwan and the South China Sea, insisting that Washington was threatening the stability of the region while rejecting accusations by acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that Beijing was a threat to East Asia.
Shao Yuanming, a senior official of the Peopleís Liberation Army, made the comments on Saturday after Shanahanís speech at a defense forum in Singapore.
"He (Shanahan) has been expressing inaccurate views and repeating old tunes about the issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea," Shao told reporters. "This is harming regional peace and stability."
Shao also said that China would defend its sovereignty at any cost should anyone try to separate Taiwan from its territory. Beijing views the self-ruled island as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to return it to the fold.
Shanahan had told delegates at the defense forum earlier on Saturday that Washington would no longer "tiptoe" around Chinese behavior in Asia, with stability in the region at threat on issues ranging from the South China Sea to Taiwan.
Last month, a US warship sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea, angering Beijing at a time of tension over trade between the worldís two biggest economies.
China Defense chief warns US of firm action on Taiwan
China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe also warned last week that China will “resolutely take action” and "fight at all costs" to defend its sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and South China Sea waters.
The warning came after Washington stepped-up support for secessionist forces in Taiwan and US Navy maneuvers through the Taiwan Strait annoyed China.
Addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s premier defense summit, Wei further emphasized that China would “fight to the end” if anyone tried to interfere in Taiwan.
"We will strive for the process of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts but we make no promise to renounce the use of force," he added.
“China must be and will be reunified. We find no excuse not to do so. If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs, at all costs, for national unity,” Wei further underlined.