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December 16, 2013

News Briefs December 16, 2013

U.S. says Chinese warship nearly struck Navy cruiser

U.S. military officials say a Chinese warship nearly collided with an American Navy guided missile cruiser operating in international waters.

U.S. Pacific Fleet says it happened Dec. 5 in the South China Sea, and that the USS Cowpens maneuvered to avoid the collision.

The State Department has raised the matter at a high level with the Chinese government.

The incident comes amid heightened tension over China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

Despite strenuous objections from Washington, Beijing recently declared a new air defense zone over parts of the East China Sea.

Pacific Fleet says it’s not uncommon for navies to operate in close proximity and that’s why it is paramount they all follow international standards for maritime ìrules of the road.î AP

Pacific Fleet commander hails USS Freedom trip

The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s commander is hailing the first overseas deployment of the Navy’s newest ship.
Adm. Harry Harris, Jr. says the USS Freedom’s recent eight-month assignment to Singapore demonstrated the U.S. commitment to focus on Asia and the Pacific.

The Freedom encountered some mechanical problems that kept it in port for part of its time abroad.

But Harris said in an interview Dec. 12 the problems taught the Navy lessons about what parts of the ship fail more often. He says this will help the Navy decide what spare parts the ship needs to keep on hand.

He says the Navy will apply those lessons to future deployments.

The Freedom is a littoral combat ship, which is small enough to move among Southeast Asia’s many islands and shallow waters. AP

NATO member Greece tests Russian missiles

NATO member Greece says it has successfully tested a Russian made S300 surface-to-air missile system during a military exercise on the island of Crete, for the first time since the system was acquired 14 years ago.

Greece bought the missiles in the late 1990s to defuse a crisis between Turkey and war-divided Cyprus, where the internationally recognized ethnic Greek government had initially ordered the missiles and eventually conceded them to the government in Athens.

Delays in the Greek test have been blamed on difficulties in integrating a non-NATO system in Greece’s defenses and more recently on drastic public spending cuts imposed because of the financial crisis.
Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and the country’s military leadership were present at the Dec. 13 test. AP




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