Russia blames US warship for causing near collision in East China Sea
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Russia blames US warship for causing near collision in East China Sea

The Russian Navy said Friday guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville came within only 50 meters of Admiral Vinogradov, forcing the Russian destroyer to take emergency measures to avoid a collision. The incident came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his visiting Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping declared in Moscow that the two countries are determined to forge closer ties in the face of shared tensions brought about by the US.   "We decided that we would raise our bilateral relations to a new, higher level -- increasing our mutual support and assistance, and promote our relations in a new era," Xi said on Wednesday before signing a number of major financial agreements with Putin, whom he later described as “a best friend.” On the sidelines of the meeting, key Russian and Chinese companies also signed cooperation agreements, with China's Alibaba, Russian mobile phone operator Megafon, internet group Mail.ru and the Russian sovereign investment fund RDIF inking a major deal on a joint e-commerce venture. China’s telecom giant Huawei, which has been accused by Washington of spying for Beijing, also signed an agreement with Russian telecom company MTS. Putin: China 'most important economic partner' Putin described Beijing as the most important partner Moscow has ever had. "In recent years, thanks to your direct participation, the relationship between Russia and China has reached an unprecedentedly high level," he told Xi.  Earlier this month, a senior Chinese military official reacted strongly to recent US actions near Taiwan and the South China Sea, insisting that Washington was threatening the stability of the region. Shao Yuanming, a senior official of the People's Liberation Army, made the comments on Saturday after acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan called Beijing a threat to East Asia. "He (Shanahan) has been expressing inaccurate views and repeating old tunes about the issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea," Shao told reporters. "This is harming regional peace and stability." Shao also said China would defend its sovereignty at any cost should anyone try to separate Taiwan from its territory. Beijing views the self-ruled island as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to return it to the fold. Shanahan had told delegates at a defense forum in Singapore that Washington would no longer "tiptoe" around Chinese behavior in Asia. Last month, a US warship sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea, angering Beijing at a time of rising trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies. China Defense chief warns US of firm action on Taiwan China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe also warned last week that China will “resolutely take action” and "fight at all costs" to defend its sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and South China Sea waters. The warning came after Washington stepped-up support for secessionist forces in Taiwan and US Navy maneuvers through the Taiwan Strait annoyed China. Addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s premier defense summit, Wei further emphasized that China would “fight to the end” if anyone tried to interfere in Taiwan. "We will strive for the process of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts but we make no promise to renounce the use of force," he added.  “China must be and will be reunified. We find no excuse not to do so. If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs, at all costs, for national unity,” Wei further underlined.

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