The Chinese government has issued a stern warning to the US, suggesting its most recent actions in the South China Sea are turning the area into a militarized zone.
The warning has been issued following word two US bombers conducted a suspected fly-over of Chinese-controlled territory in the Nansha Islands earlier this month.
China’s Defense Ministry says the US has committed a “serious military provocation” by flying two B-52 bombers over a Chinese-controlled island and reef on December 10th.
The bombers flew within 2 nautical miles of the Chinese-controlled islands, prompting warnings from the Chinese crews on the ground.
Pentagon officials have suggested the planes may have veered off course due to bad weather.
However, Chinese military observer Wei Dongxu says that explanation seems highly unlikely.
“It was obviously a planned operation. We know there are B-52 bombers deployed on the US island of Guam in the western Pacific. It’s hard to believe the bombers ended up veering that far off-course into the South China Sea without a plan. It seems obvious the US was trying to gauge Chinese defense capabilities and troop deployments in the Nansha Islands.”
The revelation of the over-flight is drawing a high-level Chinese response.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says it’s time for outside actors to show restraint when it comes to the disputes over the South China Sea.
“A few outside countries take an interest and are concerned about the South China Sea. We can understand this. But we hope that outside countries will do more to benefit peace and stability and support the efforts to find a resolution through talks, and not manufacture tensions or even fan the flames.”
China has overlapping claims over parts of the South China Sea with some member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Read more: http://english.cri.cn/12394/2015/12/20/4061s909179.htm