The edgy relations between China and the US at sea have been tested over the past few months, and at last week´s International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) defense analyst Wendell Minnick heard how crisis management tools between the countries have performed, he writes in Defense News.
On the first day of the exhibition, US Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations, told a media roundtable that the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) agreed upon in 2014 between China and the US was successfully implemented and tested in real time just before IMDEX began when CUES was used between the USS Fort Worth (LSC-3) littoral combat ship and a Chinese warship in the South China Sea.
Both the Fort Worth and a Chinese Type 54A Jiangkai II frigate, 569 Yulin, were on display at Changi Naval Base for IMDEX as part of a 20-warship exhibition.
“We had previously agreed with the Chinese, if we met at sea, to use CUES. So Fort Worth came across one of our counterparts” and the encounters were handled in a professional manner, Howard said.
Navy chiefs at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in China approved the use of CUES on a voluntary basis in April 2014, said Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia security specialist at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
“CUES is an important first step at norm setting and institutionalizing agreed procedures when military ships unexpectedly encounter each other at sea,” Thayer said. “So far there have been at least three bilateral naval exercises practicing CUES: China-Indonesia, Vietnam and the US, and Japan and the Philippines.”
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