Sputnik News – June 16, 2018
Two B-52 heavy bombers flew “in the vicinity of the South China Sea,” US Pacific Air Forces said June 6.
While US Navy warships sometimes conduct “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea as a way to challenge what Washington maintains are Beijing’s excessive maritime claims, flying the potentially nuclear-armed B-52s over the waterway represented an “escalation,” Business Insider reported Friday.
On Friday, the PLA-Navy practiced its responses to an aerial attack on islands in the South China Sea. Chinese forces targeted three unmanned aerial vehicles flying in formation “at varying heights and directions” as part of efforts to improve the force’s fighting ability, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a PLA Daily report.
On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping “stressed building an elite maritime force to resolutely accomplish various missions entrusted by the Party and the people” while visiting a navy outpost, Xinhua reports.
Patrick Goodenough – June 1, 2018
(CNSNews.com) – Amid simmering U.S.-China tensions in the South China Sea, a top U.S. general on Thursday underlined the military’s readiness to “protect U.S. and allied interests in the region,” and made a reference to the U.S. experience in “taking down small islands” in the Pacific during World War II.
“We continue to seek areas to cooperate with China where we can, but where we can’t we’re prepared to certainly protect both U.S. and allied interest in the region,” Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon.
He declined to say whether China or North Korea posed a bigger security threat, saying the threats were very different, and both were taken seriously, but that it was not “useful, actually, to compare the two.”
Sputnik News – April 24, 2018
Taiwan’s yearly live-fire drills in June will focus on repelling a simulated invasion from the China, officials said Tuesday after China began its own live fire exercises off the mainland last week.
China says their drills, which started on April 18, were to protect Beijing’s territorial sovereignty. China’s People’s Liberation Army regularly holds naval drills as much of the land it claims in the South China Sea remains disputed. This exercise was conducted in their territorial waters, within a 5-by-10 mile zone just a few nautical miles off the coast of Quanzhou Bay, Taiwan News uncovered.
“Taiwan’s people are very clear about this and will not accept it,” said Taipei’s Mainland Affairs Council on their website the day following China’s drill. “We are determined in our defense of our nation’s sovereignty and dignity and will absolutely not yield to military threats or inducements.”
John Hayward – March 26, 2018
China’s naval and air forces began what observers described as unusually large exercises in the Western Pacific and South China Sea this weekend, including H-6K bombers, Tu-154 reconnaissance planes, Yun-8 transport planes, and Su-30 and Su-35 fighters.
The Su-35 is a highly advanced fourth-generation fighter that has only been sent to the South China Sea for drills on one previous occasion. The H-6K bomber is capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles that can threaten ships or ground targets, possibly with nuclear warheads.
The combat drills passed over the Miyako Strait near Okinawa, which lies between Japan’s southern islands. The strait also happens to be located between Japan, Taiwan, and the Senkaku Islands, where Japan, Taiwan, and China all have conflicting territorial claims.
The Chinese military described the exercise as its “best preparation for war,” according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
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.