The United States says Chinese military flights posed no threat to its Navy aircraft carrier but matched Beijing’s pattern of aggressive behavior.
The US military said Chinese military flights over the past week in the South China Sea posed a threat “at no time” to a US Navy aircraft carrier strike group in the region, but corresponded to a Beijing pattern of destabilizing and aggressive behavior.
“Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group closely monitored all Navy activities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) and the Air Force (PLAAF), and at no time did they pose a threat. for ships, aircraft or sailors of the US Navy, ”said US Army Pacific Command. said in a statement.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Chinese plane was not approaching within 250 nautical miles (463 km) of US Navy ships.
China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, where it has established military outposts on man-made islands. This claim was declared without legal basis by the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea.
The waters have also become a flashpoint in Sino-US relations.
The United States routinely accuses China of militarizing the South China Sea and trying to intimidate its Asian neighbors who may want to exploit its vast oil and gas reserves.
‘Freedom of navigation’
China, in turn, regularly bristles at US military activity in the region, saying on Monday that such actions are not conducive to peace and stability in the region.
The United States Navy routinely conducts what it calls “freedom of navigation” operations by vessels near some of China’s occupied islands, asserting freedom of access to international waterways, and in accordance with the 2016 from The Hague.
The US Pacific Command renewed its pledge to continue operations in the region, where it has long-standing military alliances with China’s neighbors.
“The United States will continue to fly, navigate and operate where international law permits, demonstrating its resolve with our operational presence throughout the region,” said Pacific Command.
The latest skirmish came just a week after China passed a new law that, for the first time, explicitly allows its coast guard to shoot at foreign ships that threaten its “national sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.” .
The Chinese Coast Guard is the most powerful force of its kind in the region.
Former Philippine justice and international maritime law expert Antonio Carpio told Manila-based news site Rappler on Friday that China’s new law renders the code of conduct negotiated by the Association of Nations of the Southeast Asia (ASEAN) as “dead on arrival.”.
The Philippines has already formally lodged a diplomatic protest on this matter.
Carpio urged ASEAN to address the UN and declare China’s new law void.