RT – July 2, 2017
China has sent military vessels and warplanes to “warn off” USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, that sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.
“Under the pretext of ‘freedom of navigation,’ the US side once again sent a military vessel into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands without China’s approval,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that such US behavior “violated Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, and disrupted the peace, security and order of the relevant waters.”
“China dispatched military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the US vessel,” the statement reads.
“The Chinese side is dissatisfied with, and opposed to, the relevant behavior of the US side,” Lu added, calling the US warplane’s maneuvers a “serious political and military provocation.” He said that the US is “deliberately stirring up troubles in the South China Sea, as well as running in the opposite direction from countries in the region who aspire for stability, cooperation and development.”
The US Navy did not officially confirm the operation. The US Pacific Fleet spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, told Fox News that the fleet conducts “routine and regular FONOPs, as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” without specifically mentioning the Sunday incident.
James Holbrooks – March 30, 2017
Adding fuel to an already highly combustible situation in Southeast Asia, Reuters reported Tuesday that China has “largely completed major construction of military infrastructure on artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea,” and that the Asian superpower “can now deploy combat planes and other military hardware there at any time.”
Citing satellite imagery analyzed by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of Washington, D.C.’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, the news agency writes that “work on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly Islands included naval, air, radar and defensive facilities.”
Sticking to the mainstream narrative that China is an aggressor in claiming sovereign rights to the majority of the South China Sea, Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross says the new images confirm what the U.S. military already knows.
“China’s continued construction in the South China Sea is part of a growing body of evidence that they continue to take unilateral actions which are increasing tensions in the region and are counterproductive to the peaceful resolution of disputes,” he told Reuters.
Michael Snyder – March 9, 2017
Iran just conducted another provocative missile test, more U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East, it was just announced that the U.S. military will be sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to South Korea in response to North Korea firing four missiles into the seas near Japan, and China is absolutely livid that a U.S. carrier group just sailed through contested waters in the South China Sea. We have entered a season where leaders all over the globe feel a need to rattle their sabers, and many fear that this could be leading us to war. In particular, Donald Trump is going to be under the microscope in the days ahead as other world leaders test his resolve. Will Trump be able to show that he is tough without going over the edge and starting an actual conflict?
The Iranians made global headlines on Thursday when they conducted yet another ballistic missile test despite being warned by Trump on numerous occasions…
As tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to mount, the semi-official news agency Tasnim is reporting that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has successfully conducted yet another ballistic missile test, this time from a navy vessel. Called the Hormuz 2, these latest missiles are designed to destroy moving targets at sea at ranges up to 300 km (180 miles)….
RT – February 21, 2017
China says it respects the principles of freedom of navigation and overflight, but “opposes” when other states undermine its sovereignty using this pretext. The statement comes after a US aircraft carrier group began patrols in disputed South China Sea waters.
“China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight all countries enjoy under international law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing on Monday, as cited by Reuters.
“But we are consistently opposed to relevant countries threatening and damaging the sovereignty and security of littoral countries under the flag of freedom of navigation and overflight. We hope relevant countries can do more to safeguard regional peace and stability,” the spokesman said.
The statement was China’s first official comment on the latest US patrol mission. The US Navy made the announcement on its website last Saturday, stating that the strike group, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier ‘USS Carl Vinson’, together with aircraft from the ‘Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2’, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer ‘USS Wayne E. Meyer’ started “routine operations” in the South China Sea.
DEBKAfile – February 19, 2017
Donald Trump marked his first month as US President with two major military gambits in the Middle East, Asia and the South China Sea. Early Sunday, Feb. 19, the US Navy said that the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and strike group had begun patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. With them are three air squadrons coming from their Naval Air Station Lemoore: the USS Lake Champlain guided missile cruiser and two guided missile destroyers, the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Wayne E. Meyer.
The deployment comes after Beijing’s warning that a US naval unit sailing near the disputed Spralys, where China has built islands and a military presence, would be seen as a violation of sovereignty, which the US and Japan refuse to recognize.
The Trump administration’s move therefore opens up a potential arena of confrontation between the US and China. It also caries a message for North Korea, which Trump has called “a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly.”
A week ago, on Feb. 12, North Korea launched a missile, using new “cold eject” technology which makes it possible to fire a missile from a submarine. Military experts in Washington and Jerusalem estimate that once Pyongyang has perfected the system, it will be passed to Tehran, an eventuality covered in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s White House talks with President Trump last week, our sources reveal.
Our military sources add that while Washington has publicly announced the transfer of a naval-air force to the South China Sea, the deployment of the large 11th Marine Expeditionary Combat Unit to the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea is being kept low key.
Whitney Webb – February 16, 2017
After several controversies with the Trump administration, China is set to bar foreign ships from select nations that undermine its sovereignty.
While Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election was largely greeted with optimism from the Chinese government, things have devolved quite rapidly since then. Various incidents, from Trump’s phone call to the Taiwanese president to his open questioning of the one-China policy, have sparked controversy after controversy in Sino-American relations. More recently, the Trump administration issued a joint statement with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe that supported Japan’s claim to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, a move that directly called Chinese national and regional sovereignty into question. While Trump’s advisors have asserted that these foreign policy “gaffes” are really part of a strategy to give Trump a negotiating advantage by making him “unpredictable,” it seems that these tensions are starting to have an effect and are propelling China to act.
According to China’s People’s Daily, China has moved to limit foreign naval presence in and around Chinese waters, particularly in the disputed waters of the South and East China Sea. The Chinese government is set to revise the 1984 Maritime Traffic Safety Law in order to allow authorities to “bar some foreign ships” from passing through Chinese territorial waters.
RT – February 1, 2017
China’s upcoming aircraft carrier, the ‘Shandong’, is to be based near the South China Sea – the area at the center of Beijing’s confrontation with the US and regional neighbors, according to Chinese media.
The rationale behind the decision to place China’s first home-made carrier in disputed waters is to increase the country’s military capabilities and readiness to respond to any “complicated situations,” as the South China Morning Post put it, citing Xiake Dao, a social media account affiliated with the oversees edition of the state-owned People’s Daily.
The report is “based on existing available information,” and the precise future base of ‘Shandong’ – named after an eastern province – is yet to be revealed. Also under consideration are other possible names for the ship, but ‘Shandong’ is the working title, unless the newly formed Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission elects to change it, the Morning Post reports.
The carrier will join China’s only other one – the ‘Liaoning’, which is based in Qingdao, northern China, looking at Japan and South Korea. The ship was brought over from Ukraine in 1998.
China’s rivals in the South China Sea are growing increasingly wary of what they deem to be Beijing’s territory-grabbing in the area. Washington has voiced its anger with Chinese activity in the South China Sea, the region China says has historically been in its orbit.
Sputnik News – January 24, 2017
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued a warning to the new White House administration that Washington “is not a party to the South China Sea dispute,” even though the US Navy maintains a significant presence in the global trade hub.
After White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the sovereignty of the Spratly islands into question, Beijing responded in kind. “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” Spicer said on Monday. In what looks like a tit-for-tat game, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded, saying China’s sovereignty over the Spratly islands was “irrefutable.”
“No matter what changes happen in other countries, what they say or what they do, China’s resolve to protect its sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea will not change,” Hua added.
On Tuesday, Lu Kang, a senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official, said there “might” be a difference of opinion over who has rights to the islands and waters of the South China Sea, “but that’s not for the United States” to determine alone. Refuting Spicer’s remarks, Lu told NBC News on Tuesday “that’s not international territory, that’s Chinese territory,” adding that China has the right to build whatever it wants on what it considers to be its own territory.
January 4, 2017
BEIJING (Reuters) – A group of Chinese warships led by its sole aircraft carrier is testing weapons and equipment in exercises this week in the South China Sea that are going to plan, China‘s foreign ministry said Wednesday.
Exercises by the ships, in particular the aircraft carrier Liaoning, since last month have unnerved China‘s neighbors, especially at a time of heightened strain with self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, and given long-running territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
China says the Soviet-built Liaoning and the other ships conduct routine exercises that comply with international law.
“The Liaoning aircraft carrier group in the South China Sea is carrying out scientific research and training, in accordance with plans,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.
“The purpose is to test the performance of weapons and equipment,” he said.
SputnikNews – December 25, 2016
China’s first aircraft carrier group conducted a series of military tests in the Yellow Sea December 24, ahead of scheduled testing farther away later, its military reported.
The tests included a fighter launch and air combat and recovery exercises, AP reports. The next steps for the Liaoning carrier group will be “cross-sea” training and tests at an unspecified location. Chinese media are speculating that this could mean the ships will conduct operations in areas of the contested South China Sea.
AP quotes a military analyst in China’s Global Times newspaper as saying the South China Sea would be an “ideal” location because joint exercises could be done in areas controlled by China.