The South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a think tank that focuses on the security issues around the contested region, told Newsweek there were risks of a potential clash. It also highlighted the chances of an “unexpected” clash between the two powerful nations amid heightened tensions.
The organisation said: “We still believe that the risk of conflict is rising.
“Though less mentioned in media reports recently, there have always been several encounters of various kinds from the two sides every single day.”
It added: “If the US and China couldn’t find substantive crisis management measures, the risk of an accident or unexpected conflict would still be high.”
Hu Bo, the Director of the Center for Maritime Strategy Research, previously raised concerns over a potential conflict between Washington and Beijing.
He said: “Although the US has been trying to decouple from China in other areas, they are still closely connected.
“The chances of a large-scale conflict happening are small.
“But a medium or small-scale conflict is possible, such as two warships hitting each other or occasional crossfire since the two countries’ warships and aircraft encounter each other.”
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, called on other nations to co-operate to counter against China’s dominance.
Tensions between China and the US have escalated alarmingly over recent months as both nations ramped up their military presence in the disputed waters.
China has already built military bases of several atolls in the region.
The US Navy released a report warning China and Russia are the “two most significant threats to this era of global peace and prosperity”.
The document, Advantage at Sea, said it is Beijing not Moscow which poses the biggest risk.