The air and sea shadow boxing could lead to a bloody brawl with the U.S., warns the head of China’s navy. And the warning itself is the scary part.
Over the weekend, China’s military released photographs of its heavily armed fighter aircraft training, it said, over the South China Sea, and claimed they flew out of an unnamed airstrip in those contested waters. The Chinese did not give the specific site, but the runway is believed to be on Woody (Yongxing) Island, according to the South China Morning Post.
It was the latest reaction to last week’s freedom of navigation exercise conducted by the USS Lassen, one of the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyers. The Lassen, watched by American reconnaissance aircraft off in the distance, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly chain of rocks, reefs, and islets in the South China Sea—waters claimed by Beijing.
And it comes after a menacing statement by the chief of China’s navy, who raised the specter of open war with the United States in a way that can only be construed as a threat.