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World Briefing / China

U.S. says Navy ship harassed

March 10, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Chinese ships surrounded and harassed a U.S. Navy mapping ship in international waters off China, at one point coming within 25 feet of the American boat and strewing debris in its path, the Defense Department said.

The Obama administration said it would continue naval operations in the South China Sea, most of which China considers its territory, and protested to Beijing about what it called reckless behavior.

At one point during the incident Sunday, the unarmed Impeccable turned fire hoses on an approaching Chinese ship in self-defense, the Pentagon said. A Chinese ship played chicken with the Americans, stopping dead in front of the Impeccable as it tried to move away, forcing the civilian mariners to brake.

"We view these as unprofessional maneuvers" and a violation of international law, a Pentagon spokesman said.

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