A Chinese fighter confronts a U.S. Navy plane 3:27

(CNN) -- A Chinese military vessel nearly collided with a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, coming within 140 meters of a collision, the U.S. military said in a statement Saturday.

The Chinese ship "executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner" in the vicinity of the USS Chung-Hoon, according to the statement from the US Indo-Pacific Command.

"(The Chinese vessel) overtook the Chung-Hoon by its port side and crossed its bow at 140 meters," the statement said, describing the incident. "The Chung-Hoon stayed the course and reduced speed to 10 kts to avoid a collision."

The incident is the second time in two weeks that the Chinese military has conducted aggressive maneuvers in the vicinity of U.S. military near the Chinese border. A Chinese fighter jet conducted an "unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" during the interception of a U.S. spy plane in international airspace over the South China Sea last week, the U.S. military said in a statement Tuesday.

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According to the statement, the passage of the US Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the "commitment of the United States to a free and open Indo-Pacific", and underlines that the Taiwan Strait is under the jurisdiction of international law.


In the wake of the incident, Taiwan's Defense Ministry on Sunday called on China to "respect freedom of navigation and avoid excessively provocative behavior, so as to jointly preserve regional peace, stability and security."

"The Ministry of National Defense reiterates that preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is a joint responsibility of free and democratic countries around the world," the ministry said in a statement.

"They are here to provoke," China responds

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu criticized the United States after a close encounter between Chinese and U.S. military vessels in the Taiwan Strait.

"They are not here for an innocent step. They are here to provoke," Li said at the Shangri-la security summit in Singapore on Sunday.

"Why do these incidents occur in areas close to China, but not in areas close to other countries?" asked Li to comment on the incident.

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"To really prevent these kinds of incidents in the future ... The best solution is that all countries, especially warships and fighter jets, do not conduct close actions around the territory of other countries. What's the point of going there?" he said.

"Mind your own business," he added.

Late on Saturday, the Chinese military claimed that earlier in the day "the US destroyer Chung-Hoon and the Canadian frigate Montreal transited through the Taiwan Strait, and publicly exaggerated it," according to a statement by Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The Chinese military "handled the situation based on laws and regulations," Col. Shi Yi said, adding that "relevant countries are deliberately stirring up problems and risks in the Taiwan Strait, maliciously undermining regional peace and stability, and sending wrong signals to the 'Taiwan independence' forces."

-- CNN's Irene Nasser contributed to this report.

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