CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Tensions between the United States and China are on the rise, following recent water and airspace incidents near the Chinese border.

Recent “close calls” are just the latest in an alarming trend of increasing confrontations with Chinese military aircraft and vessels. Relations between China and the U.S., remain turbulent, with recent issues arising over the waters and airways by the Chinese border.

China claims the region as its territory, while the U.S says it’s an international space. On Saturday, a Chinese navy ship cut through the path of an American destroyer on the Taiwan Strait, nearly causing a collision if the U.S. ship hadn’t slowed.

Days prior, the U.S. accused China of an unnecessary aggressive maneuver in the sky, over the south china sea in May. These close calls are fueling concerns that a potential accident could lead to military action being taken between the two countries, at a time when tensions are already high.

Congressman Richard Neal tells 22News, the U.S. isn’t budging on its position, “Well I think the president has made it clear that we believe in international waterways and American ships are going to have access,” Neal says. “The Canadians partner with us, the European Union shares our view, NATO shares our view. We believe that the Taiwan Strait is an international waterway.”

Relations between the two countries are complex, 22News spoke with a local professor Gary Lefort who explained that the U.S. has largely responded to Chinese aggression with sanctions, but not without challenges. “At a time when we’re trying to say we don’t want you to continue this military aggression in the south china sea and we’ll use economic sanctions to deter you from that but meanwhile you’ve got major global CEOs trying to drum up more business with china.”

The Taiwan strait incident happened as the U.S. Defense secretary & Chinese defense minister were at a defense conference in Singapore. The Chinese minister refused a request from the U.S. to talk while at that conference.