Chinese warships recently tried to force a United States guided missile warship to stop in international waters. The USS Cowpens was confronted by Chinese naval vessels in the South China Sea, near China’s new aircraft carrier Liaoning.

According to a Navy official, “On December 5th, while lawfully operating in international waters in the South China Sea, USS Cowpens and a PLA Navy vessel had an encounter that required maneuvering to avoid a collision.”

“This incident underscores the need to ensure the highest standards of professional seamanship, including communications between vessels, to mitigate the risk of an unintended incident or mishap,” he added.

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Surveillance was being conducted on the Liaoning at the time by the USS Cowpens. Washington used their diplomatic and military means to protest the halt.

According to the Washington Free Beacon:

According to the officials, the run-in began after a Chinese navy vessel sent a hailing warning and ordered the Cowpens to stop. The cruiser continued on its course and refused the order because it was operating in international waters.

Then a Chinese tank landing ship sailed in front of the Cowpens and stopped, forcing the Cowpens to abruptly change course in what the officials said was a dangerous maneuver.

According to the officials, the Cowpens was conducting a routine operation done to exercise its freedom of navigation near the Chinese carrier when the incident occurred about a week ago.

The encounter was the type of incident that senior Pentagon officials recently warned could take place as a result of heightened tensions in the region over China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea.

Earlier this year China declared an air-defense zone in the East China Sea. Following the announcement by China, US military leaders flew two unarmed B-52s through the area.

Many are saying that due to the modernization of China’s military, the nation is becoming emboldened, and these confrontations by China are a flexing of the country’s muscles.

“While Naval modernization is a natural development for any sea-faring nation such as China, it is clear the modernization is emboldening the Chinese government to exert their interests by bullying their neighbors and pushing back the United States in the Asia Pacific region,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

Seth Cropsey, a senior fellow at The Hudson Institute, told the subcommittee, “Chinese leaders are ambitious, and they are moving toward great power status. The U.S. is not taking this possibility as seriously as it should.”

Jim Thomas, vice president and director of studies for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Forbes’ Subcommittee, “A decade ago China was reliant upon Russian assistance in its armaments, but is now increasingly shifted toward indigenous design and production. It is rapidly building up a modernized submarine force, and its advanced guided missile destroyers represent a major improvement in fleet air defenses.”

The Economist reported on the China’s military expansion, which it referenced as the “world’s biggest military expansion” in a piece titled “The Dragon’s New Teeth.”

While the US continues to possess more military assets, China has been on a path of spending more annually on defense than the US.

Earlier this year, it was reported that China was set to become a serious player in nuclear missile submarines.

China also is not only building up militarily, but they are preparing, along with Russia to overtake the US, despite claims otherwise. Recently, we have covered how they announced they would put an end to stockpiling US Dollars and how the Chinese are pouring billions into building Chinese cities in the US.

It appears to me, that our debt makes us much more vulnerable to nations like China and also raises tensions even more over incidents like those mentioned above, especially when the current and previous administrations are so eager to go along with whatever China wants to do. In either case, it does make one wonder if whether this administration even considers the threat of the Chinese military buildup.

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Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.