Friday, June 7, 2019

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Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

Russia vs. United States in the East China Sea

Friday, June 7 — This morning, CNN broadcast a video of a Russian warship almost colliding with an American warship, and reported that both sides were blaming the other. This comes just a few days after a similar dispute between the two countries about plane intercepts over the Mediterranean.


  • A U.S. Navy spokesperson said: "A Russian destroyer…made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville, closing to 50-100 feet, putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk."

  • The near-collision happened earlier today, as Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 was wrapping up a three-day state visit to Russia. Xi earlier called Putin his “best friend” while Putin said that Russian-Chinese relations had reached “an unprecedented level.” Xinhua has published a couple of Xi-Putin bromance photos.

  • The Russian Navy blamed the American vessel for the incident, accusing “the US Navy of ‘unacceptable’ and dangerous maneuvering,” according to Russian state-owned blog RT.

  • Former U.S. Navy officer and New York Times reporter Mike Forsythe does not buy the Russian story, commenting on Twitter:

It's pretty obvious who was doing the provoking in this shot. The Russian ship was closing the distance between the two ships. At [the] beginning of the clip was on starboard quarter of the US ship, at the end was athwartships and much closer.


If we assume, as I do after watching the video, that the Russian action was intentional, this explanation offered by retired U.S. Navy rear admiral John Kirby to CNN makes the most sense:

“Clearly this sends a strong message to President Xi, from Putin's perspective, that we are on your team.”


While Russia may not be admitting to acting on China’s behalf with the actions of its navy, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quite explicit on Friday, June 7, in slamming U.S. moves against Huawei. Reuters reports that he condemned "the situation around the company Huawei that they are attempting not just to squeeze but to unceremoniously push out of the global market."

Russia is doing its part to ensure Huawei does have a role in the global market. On Wednesday, June 5, Huawei “signed a deal…with telecoms company MTS to develop a 5G network in Russia over the next year,” according to Agence France-Presse.

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