The Chinese armed forces have launched two sets of drills in waters off the country’s east coast, in another show of power to counter the increasing US military presence in the region.
One drill started on Saturday in the Yellow Sea and will continue until Thursday while the other began on Friday in the Bohai Sea and will last a week, according to maritime safety administrations in Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces.
The exercises are the latest in a string of military manoeuvres China has declared publicly since the end of July. At least nine drills, some of them involving live rounds, have been held since the end of July in various waters including the East China and the South China seas.
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A Chinese military observer said the unusually high profile of the exercises reflected the determination of the Chinese military in the face of US provocation.
Describing the recent drills as “routine training”, Diao Daming, an associate professor at Renmin University’s National Academy of Development and Strategy, told state broadcaster China Central Television that the exercises were meant to boost public confidence and intimidate the US and Taiwan.
“Although these drills do not target any specific country, in the face of power that is challenging our sovereignty and security, such drills can make the enemy yield without use of arms,” Diao said, quoting the ancient Chinese strategy book, The Art of War.
“The US has been establishing its hegemony by provoking trouble, such as disrupting regional security in the South China Sea. Our drills demonstrate our resolve to maintain regional stability.”
Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong, said the drills in the Bohai and Yellow seas had the practical purpose of simulating both wartime attack and defence, should there be conflict to unify Taiwan by force.
“Different scenarios, with a strong enemy or a weak enemy, need to be practised in drills,” Ni said.
China claims much of the resource-rich South China Sea, where Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also have claims. The US has no territorial interest in the disputed waters but has deployed warships and aircraft in patrols that it says are intended to promote freedom of navigation.
China has been stepping up its military presence in the waters as well as in the Yellow, East China and Bohai seas, holding military drills and showing off high-end armour.
The US has also staged exercises with Japan and South Korea in the past two weeks, and is holding a biennial war exercise with nine other countries, including the Philippines and Singapore, in Hawaii. The US Navy has 38 ships in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the South China Sea.
Last week, China said a U-2 reconnaissance jet flew without permission over the no-fly zone in its northern military region, where a live-fire drill was taking place, a move seen by Beijing as “an obvious provocation”.
A day later, the People’s Liberation Army fired one of its most advanced land-based anti-ship ballistic missiles, a DF-26B, from Qinghai province in China’s northwest and a DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile from Zhejiang province in the east. Both missiles came down in the South China Sea.
The tension further escalated on Thursday when Beijing claimed it expelled a US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Mustin, from near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea as the PLA conducted exercises nearby. The Paracels are known as the Xisha in China and the Hoang Sa in Vietnam.
The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a Beijing-based think tank, said at least one US Navy EP-3E reconnaissance aircraft, two P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and one KC-135R military aerial refuelling aircraft were active in the South China Sea on Saturday morning.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Japan, US vow to counter Beijing’s assertiveness in South and East China seas
- Chinese missile launch ‘could raise risk of military clash with US’
- Chinese military fires ‘aircraft-carrier killer’ missile into South China Sea in ‘warning to the United States’
- South China Sea: Chinese military told not to fire first shot in stand-off with US forces
This article US-China relations: Chinese military mounts another show of force in Bohai and Yellow seas first appeared on South China Morning Post