Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo., told Newsmax on Thursday there is "no way to defend" how close a Chinese destroyer came to a U.S. destroyer in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday.
"Our ship clearly had the right of way," Alford said during an appearance on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We were in international waters. This is clear provocation from the communist government of China and their military, that they do not want us in the Strait of Taiwan, they do not want us in the South China Sea.
"Those are international waters. We will be there. We have pledged to help in Taiwan's self-defense, should anything happen, and this is another case of, like we saw in the air a couple of weeks ago, China trying to provoke us into something, and my fear is that something bad is going to happen eventually."
The U.S. military released video Monday of what it called an "unsafe" Chinese maneuver in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, in which a Chinese naval vessel cut across the path of a U.S. destroyer, forcing the American ship to reduce speed to avoid a collision.
The incident occurred Saturday as the American destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal were conducting a transit of the strait between Taiwan and mainland China.
China claims the democratic self-governing island of Taiwan as its own and maintains that the strait is part of its exclusive economic zone, while the U.S. and its allies contend that the waters are international.
Wednesday's edition of the South China Morning Post featured a story that claimed most Europeans would want to stay neutral in a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan. Alford said the newspaper's "propaganda" isn't true.
"They can spit out as much communist propaganda as they wish, but the good news is that we have strong allies on our side, including Australia, and it's so important to realize that it's not just our naval assets, our air assets, our space assets that could be brought to use against the Chinese aggression over Taiwan, God forbid that happened," he said.
"But we will have strategic partners in the region, and this joint force that is going to be strong, and I think that is a clear deterrent against China's provocation as well."
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