Monday, July 18, 2016

China to Close Part of South China Sea for Military Exercise

Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile
China is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week, the government said Monday, days after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing's claim to ownership of virtually the entire strategic waterway.

Beijing landed two civilian aircraft on new airstrips on disputed Mischief and Subi reefs and dispatched its coast guard to block Philippine fishing boats from a contested shoal. Chinese air force spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by state media as saying that air force fighters and bombers had recently conducted patrols over the South China Sea and would make that "a regular practice" in future.

Sun Jianguo
Freedom of navigation patrols carried out by foreign navies in the South China Sea could end "in disaster", a senior Chinese admiral has said, in a clear warning to the United States. Sun Jianguo, an admiral and deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of the powerful Central Military Commission, said the freedom of navigation issue was bogus.

"When has freedom of navigation in the South China Sea ever been affected? It has not, whether in the past or now, and in the future there won't be a problem as long as nobody plays tricks"

A U.S. Defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States reserved the right to carry out freedom of navigation operations and the Chinese admiral's comments would not change that.

Adm. John Richardson